John-Peter Amewu, the Minister of Railways Development, on Wednesday, re-affirmed his earlier stance that government cannot construct a sky-train in Ghana in the next three years because its balance sheet is not sound to fund a 12-billion-dollar sky-train project.
He said constructing a sky-train could cost between 11 and 12 million dollars per a kilometre, noting that considering the government’s current balance sheet and fiscal space, it would be impossible to undertake such a project.”Constructing a sky-train is not like building a road so, if we consider a period of three years, it is impossible. Sometimes, we have to be honest and objective and that’s why I said for the period of three years, it is not possible,” the Minister emphasised.
Mr Amewu said this in Accra on Wednesday when answering a question on Government’s strategy to mobilise funds for its numerous railway projects.
The Minister refuted claims that the government had signed a concessionaire agreement with a South African company to build a sky-train in Ghana, and explained that, it was rather a Memorandum of Understanding, which is not binding.
Mr Amewu added that sources for funding railway infrastructure had become very difficult due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, therefore, the only way Ghana could fund its railway projects was through payment of levies and taxes by the citizens.
“Infrastructure projects all over the world are funded by the citizens and so, if we, the citizens, decide to build our infrastructure projects, we can do it.
“We, the citizens, are the development agents and the only way we can fund such projects is through internally-generated funds by paying our levies and taxes,” the Minister added.
Meanwhile, Mr Amewu announced that government had paid 68 million euros to Amandi Holdings Limited to begin construction works on Manso-Huni Valley rail line in the Western Region.
He also updated the public on the various ongoing railway projects across the country including; the 670-kilometre Central Spine Railway Line from Kumasi to Paga estimated at three billion dollars, Trans-ECOWAS Railway line from Afloa to Elubo, and the 1,100-kilometre Ghana-Burkina Faso Railway Interconnectivity Project.
The Minister stated that the rehabilitation of the section of Accra to Tema rail line was completed in December 2018 and provided shuttle services while the Achimota to Nsawam railway line was completed in December 2019.
He indicated that the 97.7- kilometre Tema to Mpakadan section, which falls under the Mpakadan-Ouagadougou rail line project was 90 per cent complete.
As part of government’s efforts of building human capacity to maintain the railway infrastructure, Mr Amewu said, the Old Railway Training Institute in Sekondi was rehabilitated and upgraded to award degrees in Engineering.
Additionally, two out of the seven Railway Location Workshop Complex for maintenance of locomotives, wagons, and coaches had been refurbished while the remaining five workshops were ongoing refurbishment, the Minister stated.
Mr Amewu reiterated government’s commitment to revamping the country’s railway infrastructure to create jobs and transform the economy.