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11.05.2005 Business & Finance

United Rail Deal Not Cancelled, Suspended - Akumfi

By Ghanaian Chronicle

The Railways and Harbors Minister, Professor Christopher Ameyaw Akumfi has debunked media reports that the negotiations between the government of Ghana and United Rail Company have been cancelled. "It is not cancelled or suspended but has been called off for three weeks."

The minister told The Business Chronicle in an interview that in every negotiation, when issues come across, one of them may have to make reference or do some rethinking.

He stated that the postponement is normally allowed to enable both parties to settle outstanding issues.

"We are negotiating with United Rail and that does not mean that the government has given the contract to them," the minister lamented.

He disclosed that what happened was that, the government negotiating team asked the United Railway UK Limited to review its investment plan to take into account, the Kyebi bauxite deposit as a way of ensuring higher levels of investment.

The minister said it was better the negotiations are suspended because they want Ghana to derive maximum benefits from the concession process, and reiterated that the process was nowhere close to a done deal.

He claimed that the committee was still talking about 20% free shares for government and explained that with the reviewed plan of united rail, the negotiating team has assured itself that Ghana can derive maximum benefits from the concessionary process.

He rejected that the negotiating team is demanding from United Rail, how its investment plan could be implemented.

The minister added that United Rail's investment plan would cover three railway lines the rehabilitation of the Western, Eastern and Central rail lines, from an eight-year period to ten years has now been revised to three years.

He stated that with the review plan of United Rail, Ghana would get many experiences and benefits.

Touching on benefits of the railway sector being revived, he explained that 2,000 people would be employed. "The government will also derive income for the country."

He added that after the rehabilitation exercise, it is believed that rampant derailments being experienced would be reduced considerably

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