Mr Joe Ghartey, the Minister-designate for Railway Development, has observed that railway development was linked to economic development of a country and therefore the expansion of the railway sector would attract more investors into the country.
He admitted that financing the sector was a major challenge and was happy that the President had shown commitment towards this cause by creating the sector.
He said some investors had shown interest in investing in Ghana’s railway industry and expressed optimism that the needed resources would be provided to revamp the sector.
He maintained that Ghana’s economic development would be enhanced, if a reliable railway industry was established
Mr Ghartey, the Member of Parliament for Essikadu-Ketan in the Western Region, said this on Thursday when he appeared before Parliament’s Appointments Committee for vetting.
According to him, the railway industry would help the country to transport agricultural produce and mineral resources easily from the hinterlands to the market centres to boost the economy.
The Minister-designate assured that the Government would create a favourable business environment for investors to operate.
Mr Ghartey noted that the railway sector was a potential avenue where government could raise revenues, saying, ‘‘the trains are walking adverts so banks and other businesses could advertise their products on them’’.
He observed that along the rail lines, there could be shops, cash-points and all sorts of businesses around them and said when he was given the nod, he would work towards achieving these goals.
“We are looking at all the complementary industries that have developed as a result of the railway. In Japan for instance, they have created the rail lines and built cities around the rail,” he pointed out.
With regard to how the government would expand the railway infrastructure from Accra to Paga in the Upper East Region, Mr. Ghartey indicated that works had begun to raise funds required to expand the railway to the north.
According to him, government intended to revive the railway industry by partnering with the private sector to cover substantial portions of the country.
“There are people who are willing to come and do the slippers in Ghana. The slippers are what they put between the tracks to keep it stable,” he said.
He stated that due to the government’s pro-business policies, investors had shown tremendous interest in partnering government.
Minister-designate for Railway Development said although the Akufo Addo led administration had enormous infrastructure projects to go into, rail development was essential.
“We have to create the legal institutional framework that will give us the finance and luckily for us, the president is fully committed to this agenda”.
“The Finance Minister is also fully backing this agenda and so we have to be able to present what is called ‘‘bankable projects’’ to the president so that he gives his blessing so that the Finance Minister takes us forward,’’ he emphasised.