A facytory to produce concrete sleepers to be used in the construction of rail lines to help upgrade the railway sector and its network system is to be established at Essikado in the Western Region.
Concrete Product and Logistics Limited in partnership with Aveng Infraset, the biggest construction company in Africa is therefore looking for land at Essikado to establish the factory.
The Minister for Railway Development, Joe Ghartey disclosed this when he led the General Manager of Aveng Infraset, Kobus Burger and his entourage to pay a courtesy call on the Omanhene of Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V at his palace at Essikado.
Mr. Burger explained that Aveng group had identified many opportunities in Ghana and one of them was the manufacturing of concrete sleepers.
“Ghana is having the requisite materials for production; there is sand, stone and electricity among others”.
“All our factories are manned by local people, we believe we have a duty to create jobs in Africa, it is not our intention to set up a factory in Ghana and manage it from South Africa” he stressed.
Joe Ghartey indicated that Ghana’s railway system was built with sleepers that were imported from Italy.
According to him, currently many investors have expressed interest to support the growth and expansion of the sector.
“A lot of individuals from China, United States of America, United Kingdom, Switzerland and many more have visited the country to support in the development of the rail sector,” he added.
He explained that the Western rail line starting from Kojokrom would take a dual approach; standard gauge at one side and that the narrow gauge would be rehabilitated.
“If the Western line becomes active, 70,000 tons of manganese that would be transported by train for export can even pay the salary of our railway workers”
“As a government, we are not only interested in exporting our raw materials to other countries but also interested in processing them here, thereby creating an Integrated Aluminum Industry” he added.
“Ghana is a rich country and the estimated value of bauxite at Nyinahin in the Ashanti Region is about is $460 billion when you bring it out of the ground and process it” he revealed.
He mentioned that the proposed amount to develop the railway was about $7.8 billion or $10 billion dollars including the rail stations adding “so even 5 per cent of the amount to be derived from bauxite at Nyinahin can develop the railway sector”.
Nana Kobina Nketsia V. Omanhene of Essikado Traditional Area mentioned that the rail sector must be given the needed attention for its revival.
“The move to establish a concrete sleeper factory at Essikado, which is the heartbeat of the railway is in the right direction since it will create employment for our youth” he pointed out.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi