Phase One of Ghana-Burkina Railway Project to be completed in August 2020
By Maxwell Obiri-Yeboah
The Minister for Railways Development, Mr Joe Ghartey, has announced that the Tema to Mpakadan Railway Project, which is the first phase to link the country and Burkina Faso, is going to be completed by August 2020.
It was previously announced that this phase would be completed in 2021, but the reason for this pace in the service delivery he attributed to the fact that the necessary processes had been laid down for the actual work to be carried on by contractors on the ground.
This reporter, therefore, queried to be sure of the percentage of work done and how sure the contractors are able to execute this project in a short while.
The Minister answered by saying that there are different consultants and engineers working on the project. Now, per what he has seen and how they execute their functions, he has bought into the assurances coming from them.
He said that the way and manner in which the team of experts working work there combined forces, he was sure that the huge chunk of the workload would be completed, and soon, they would be done.
Mr. Ghartey revealed that in the beginning there were fourteen contractors from many nations, including the USA, India, China amongst others, who submitted their bids, but in the end, they shortlisted it to four entities before handling the project to the one that the team of experts was certain could provide an efficient job that can last over a century and at an affordable price for the nation.
Talking about why his team chose the Tema route to build the rail project and not use the Takoradi -Kumasi route, he expressed that looking at how busy the Tema port is, and the expansion projects taking place, it was necessary to choose that area to help ease the flow of goods and services that is likely to pass through the regions all the way to Ouagadougou.
According to him, it was the President’s vision to stop at Ouagadougou for business purposes, and thus, the connectivity project that changed the cost involved in linking the nations to do more business in the future.
He expressed that this is the first time a railway project is happening between a Francophone and Anglophone country to create jobs and promote the industrialisation agenda of His Excellency, Nana Akufo-Addo.
The Minister iterated his gratitude to the chiefs of the Akwamu and Krobo areas who, without agitation, allowed the rail lines to pass through their lands, even though they have not been well compensated in the construction of the Akosombo Dam till date. He said that the compensation packages are all factored into the cost involved in the project.
He also stated that the Ministry had learned its lessons in the facets of land encroachment and land acquisition, amongst others.
The Minister also applauded the Government of Burkina Faso, saying, after a team of delegates went to announce the mission, decided the two countries share the costs involved evenly, even though about 800 kilometres of the railway line is going to be constructed in the country, with the remaining 200 kilometres to be found snaking its way into Ouagadougou.
He said His Excellency Mr. Roch Marc Christian Kabore has done so out of brotherly love and the good relationship that has existed between the two countries over the years.