21
MenuWallOpinions
Articles

Why is Ghana shying away from the need for a High Speed Trains

Sat, 15 Nov 2014 Source: Bolus, Mercy Adede

.... in Ghana.

The concerns

Our roads are getting increasing busy as more people invest in buying more cars for connectivity. Ghana’s population is doubling however our infrastructure is too weak and feeble in facing the challenges of the future. Demand for long distance by “Tro tro” or long buses have doubled within the past 20 years as people are doing business everywhere. Some of these vehicles are not roadworthy. The ordinary general public risk their lives each day as they go out to work. It is a hard struggle. Who is making these risk assessment?

There is not an increasing rush for usage of our current raliways system. Why? This could be that the trains are not comfortable and user friendly due to lack of investment. Britian on the other hand, have sensed through their forecast that their population would increase by 10 million over the next 25 years so are getting ready to face challenges this would impact. This is the way forward for a proactive Transport Minister.

Parliament have not planned enough to invest more in all forms of transport and given the general public a target date to look forward to. The Government is fully aware that good transport makes a country stronger and lives easier. This is because we are presently seeing the death tolls rising on our roads due to congestion, increase population, noise polution, dust and filth. Transport networks are unreliable and as a result restrain travel opportunities particularly to those in the North thus resticting growth in developments and economic independence that region. There has been empahasis on the need for more capacity on the ove rlaod on our roads but no one is taking of High Speed trains to the North? Some business travel by air to beat the ardous journey to the North and I am sure that some businessmen/ women whose time is valued more than others would be keen on this advancement. Is the Minister for Toursim keen to promote toursim in the North? Well well, This is the unique opportunity to back for the introduction of High Speed 2 train to the North. Companies would be more likely to move to the North if there is better connections to the capital.

Is Parliament going to response to this challenge?

The smarter countries like Britain have planned to invest more than £70 billion in all forms of transport by 2025. They have sensed the macroenvironment and are earmarking a budget for this project and even accounted for £16 billion investment in High Speed 2 trains.

If Ghana can also have a High Speed 2 railways to the North cutting through Kumasi, Sunyani would help allieviate the pressure on the transport systems we already have.

Action plan:

I take it that Parliament has already had these plans on the table but heavy investment on the railways system is not as significant as we would wish. I would recommend that we also invest heavily on our transport system now and emulate any country with a sound transport system by forging relationship with their transport Minister. Ghana needs to provide better railways with new capacity, to improve connectivity and quicker journeys. Prague has a unique Tram system, which is cheaper and affordable than trains and would be ideal around Accra and Tema. We could invest using old trains from Prague to start with. We now have an excellent Ambassador there who can negotiate the process. What is stopping us in advancing in railways system? Why is the Transport Minister not coming up with these ideas as we watch the death tolls on our roads rising each day? What strategies has he got under his sleeves?

Why is Ghana struggling to reinvent the wheel when it already there when we can just follow an Island like Britain who is always busying thinking 20 years in advance rather than waiting for a next Government. If decisions come from Parliament then we would progress but if we wait for a particular Political Party to lead the way then we would always see our President with the begging bowl. Ghana would be self sufficient only if we invest now in railways speed trains and trams.

We needs more train services, which would allow more passengers and more jobs for people, and more freight operators to use the rails rather than our roads.

Britian is now developing High Speed 2 trains to provide it’s railways with new capacity, better connectivity and quicker journeys. What are we doing? We do like wise invest in High speed railways to the North.

If we follow this trend we would have new trains and high speed one it would increase capacity free up our roads and people living around farming areas could trade off their products and be economically independent. New trains and trams in Ghana would also mean fewer cars and lorries on our roads, thereby cutting congestion and carbon emissions.

Opportunities:

The new trains will generate create job and help rebalance the economy between the South and the North. It is a win/win for everyone.

Is this too much to ask Parliament to seriously consider? In the meanwhile most Government and well off are bought or using 4 by 4 high Speed vehicles with petrol being paid by the tx payers. It is difficult to be in the shoes of the poor and vulnerable ordinary citizen who joggle family life and getting to work on time using Tro tro as their means of transport.

Is this fair?

The engine for economic growth in Ghana is in the heavy investment in trains and trams throughout the country.

This is non negotiable.

This is what the Transport Minister should be discussing with the President.

Your thoughts.

Columnist: Bolus, Mercy Adede