Business News of 2014-02-04

RCC probes sale of Railway lands in Western Region

The Western Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) is investigating the encroachment on lands belonging to the Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL).

The lands, some of which are being developed by private individuals, were obtained by fictitious documents purportedly signed by some management officials of the GRCL.

The Western Regional Minister, Mr E.K.T Addo, has, therefore, cautioned workers and other stakeholders to exercise restraint as investigations are going on.

The promise and the challenge

Addressing the National Executive Council of the Railway Workers’ Union (RWU) in Takoradi last Friday, the regional minister, who was visibly disturbed by the turn of events, told the workers to not blame the President, the RCC or the Lands Commission for any delays that might be associated with the rehabilitation of the western rail line.

President Mahama has promised that the government will revamp the western rail line, particularly the Takoradi-Kojokrom section, this year.

The regional minister said he had in his possession letters and documents from developers that suggested that the company itself had given out parcels of land along the rail lines, stretching as far as Kumasi, adding that ‘‘and so we need to deal with all that before work can go on, and this can adversely affect the rehabilitation project’’.

Mr Addo hinted that the RCC had hired a bulldozer to demolish structures on the encroached lands and appealed to the workers to advocate the economic significance of the railway rehabilitation programme.

Government’s initiative

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Joyce A. B. Mogtari, said the government had allocated $500 million for the development of the western rail line, and that the process to engage a contractor for the project had started.

She said with regard to the Eastern rail line, the government had decided to apply the public-private partnership option to attract investors for its development.

Ms Mogtari added that the government, with the assistance of the World Bank, was procuring transaction advisory services so that the railway project and the Boankra Inland Port would be undertaken as one project for procurement process for a strategic investor.

The General Secretary of the RWU, Mr Godwill Ntarmah, noted with satisfaction that since 2009, salaries of railway workers had appreciated by more than 100 per cent and drew attention to the meagre salary of the company’s managing director.