‘Railway development key to economic transformation’

Government must fast-track revitalisation and expansion of the railway sector to enhance diversification of the transport industry so as to cushion economic growth and development, Yaw Osei Owusu, Managing Director of Golden Key Group – a sales and marketing consorting company – has said.

An efficient railway system could be a game-changer and a massive catalyst for economic transformation, especially in addressing the country’s poor food distribution network, and position Ghana as the hub of maritime industry in West Africa as it would be easier and economical to transport transit goods to landlocked countries in the sub-region.

“With the incessant traffic on our roads, particularly cargo-tucks, and a perennial glut of agricultural produce in production areas vis-à-vis shortage in major urban marketing centres as a result of poor road network, rail would be the ideal solution,” he said.

This assertion comes at the backdrop of government’s effort to redevelop the railway sector as a key instrument in the transportation industry. The Sector Ministry recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the China Civil Engineers Construction Corporation (CCECC) for the construction of the over-400km Kumasi-Tamale-Paga rail line.

Speaking to the B&FT, Mr. Owusu urged government to make skills-transfer to local engineers and the labour force a key component in all railway construction agreements with foreign firms. This will help empower locals with the requisite expertise for future maintenance works and possibly further expansion across the country, he added.

“We should take a cue from China’s development experience as well as other Southeast Asian countries. Rapid economic development in that part of the world is an epitome of skills-transfer in projects’ implementation,” he said.