Business News of 2014-01-07

Reconstruction of railways to begin this year

President John Dramani Mahama has announced that reconstruction of the railway system in the country will begin this year. He said the reconstruction will target mainly the Eastern and Western corridor rail lines.

The Eastern line, according to the President, will particularly be tied in with the Boankra Inland Port, which has partly been completed but yet to be activated due to lack of facilities such as warehouses and rail lines. The port is supposed to serve the middle belt, the northern parts of the country as well as Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.

Ghana’s rail system was currently in a mess and as of now, about 90 to 95 percent of all cargo internally was carried by road. This is due mainly to years of neglect of the sector in the provision of locomotives and coaches as well as lack of maintenance and expansion of rail tracks.

Addressing a press conference at the Flagstaff House Tuesday morning to mark his one year in office, President Mahama said the situation was not acceptable. He noted that for any country that intends to develop, the railways was very important and “we cannot continue to carry all cargo by road”.

“It is my hope that this year we cut sod for the beginning of the reconstruction of the railways in this country”. The President maintained that it was difficult to enforce the load limit on the roads because people have to convey containers.

“… if you have to convey containers and there is a machine in the container that is heavier than the load limit, are you going to cut the machine in half and put half aside, you cannot do that.

And so when these cargoes are carried on the roads they destroy the roads” The President said the main railways being targeted were the Western and Eastern corridor rail lines and believes that if the railways were reconstructed and the Boankra Inland Port was activated, it will make it easy for importers from Burkina Faso and other areas to pick their cargo from there instead of driving all the way to Tema.

National Theatre

We are planning to build a second national theatre in Kumasi and we are in talks with the Turkish Exim Bank which has already sent a team to Ghana to identify a site for the project which has been identified by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the President announced.

200 new schools

Touching on education, President Mahama said the promise of providing 200 secondary schools within his tenure was on course and that the criteria was to site schools in all the newly created districts, those without secondary schools at all and districts which already have secondary schools but have many students graduating from the Junior high schools. We are going to start with 50 this year, he said.

Government of friends and family

Asked by Kwame Adinkra of Angel FM in Kumasi on what the President made of criticisms that, his government was made up of just family and friends, the President said none of his siblings was in any political appointments. “I don’t know where that is coming from… I have 18 siblings and none of my sibling is in any political appointments".

Disagreements within NDC

“My relationship with our party (NDC) is good and that the executives are all my friends. Yes in any organization, you will have disagreements but it doesn’t mean that we are not friends and we are not working together.”

“I don’t abhor criticism and so yes, some members of our party have criticized me and it is their right to do so, it makes me a stronger person. If the criticism is fair, I will take corrective measures and if it is not fair, I will discuss it with them and say I don’t think this criticism is fair.” He said every organization had disagreements and that how you managed those disagreements was what mattered.

Airports

The president reiterated that the Kumasi Airport was going to be upgraded to international status. "We are also doing the regional airports, rehabilitate the Sunyani Airport and build new aerodromes at Cape Coast, Ho, Koforidua and Bolga so that we can have domestic aviation serving all regional capitals", the President said.