By Mildred Siabi-Mensah, GNA
Takoradi, Aug. 21, GNA - Mr Joe Ghartey, the Minister of Railway Development, has urged stakeholders to avoid politicising issues concerning the sector and rather support the good initiatives aimed at revamping it.
He said the Government had put in measures to revive the once vibrant railway sector through interventions and innovations, which had won investor confidence over the period.
Mr Ghartey, also the Member of Parliament for Essikado-Ketan, said this at a public lecture on; "Railways Revitalization and Sustainable Development: Approach and Opportunities," organised by the Sekondi/Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said the state of the railways needed passionate national interest than dissenting political views.
The Railway sector presented lots of opportunities for industrial, social and economic growth, he said, and entreated local investors to begin thinking of concessions along the rails for development.
"As a Chamber, you can even initiate a process to develop an industrial park along the lines for business."
Mr Ghartey said the various reforms and programmes taken under his leadership were geared towards the reactivation of the sector to create more job opportunities for the people.
He said the old Railway Training Institute and Workshop, located at Essikado, had been upgraded into a modern teaching and learning centre of excellence to enhance capacity building and skills development.
The Sector Minister said the various workshops were rehabilitated to serve the Railway, Mining, Petroleum and Agricultural sectors of the country.
He said the Railway Ministry, since its establishment in February 2017, had transferred substantial amount from its budget allocation for the payment of projects procured and executed by the Ghana Railway Company Limited from 2017 to August 2019.
Mr Ghartey said the Ministry was pursuing associated infrastructure development such as Hospitality, Housing, Free Zone/Industrial Parks, Container Terminal/Inland Ports and Cities to enhance its growth.
The first phase of the upgrading works had been completed to run in-house training programmes for staff.
The Minister mentioned encroachment on the eastern line by squatters and petty traders as well as land acquisition and compensation as some of the challenges the sector needed to surmount.
Mr Benjamin Nii Kpani, the Deputy Chief Executive of Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said diversifying business strategies was key in the competitive business environment.
He said investors should consider establishing industries along the rail lines, adding; “We as STCCI might not have much of the resources but can liaise with the chiefs to make sure lands are released for interested members to develop.”