GH¢512m railways budget gets Parliamentary nod

Court affirms Energy Minister’s directive on Afina-Sankofa Unitisation
John Peter Amewu--Former Energy Minister

Parliament has approved a sum of GH¢512,575,692 for programmes and services of the Ministry of Railways Development for the year 2021.

The sector minister, John Peter Amewu, has indicated that the allocation will be applied to activities geared toward revitalisation and modernisation of the country’s railways system to facilitate efficient and effective movement of both cargo and passengers.

The focus of the ministry in the 2021 budget, the minister said, will be utilised for the implementation of a number of key projects: including the  development of Ghana-Burkina Faso Railway Interconnectivity Project; continuation of development for sections of the Western Railway Line on Standard Gauge; development of the Eastern Railway Line on Standard Gauge; continuation of development for the Tema to Mpakadan Standard Gauge Railway Line; and construction of the Accra to Kasoa suburban Railway Line.

The budget will also cater for maintenance of sections of the Narrow-Gauge Railway Network; procurement of new standard Gauge Rolling Stock; and the acquisition of land for railway development – as well as enable the ministry to pursue supply of a total 35 new standard gauge passenger and cargo trains under a Supplier’s Credit facility that was approved by Parliament in 2020.

Mr. Amewu noted that the railways sector continues to be a high priority area for government, hence its commitment to make more investments into the sector.

“To push the railway sector further, we need to concentrate and do further investments. It is on that note that President Nana Akufo-Addo, during his address, mentioned that his attention is going to be on the railway sector; and he did mention that an amount of about US$2billion will be used for the sector.”

Two weeks ago, President Akufo-Addo in his latest State of the Nation Address stated: “One of the ministries created in my first term as president was the Ministry of Railways Development, and the benefits of its creation are showing. Government is mobilising some US$2billion toward the development of railway infrastructure and services”.

The Committee’s report on Roads and Transport in the 2021 annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Railway Development also revealed that the ministry overspent its budget in 2020.

According to the report, the ministry was allocated GH¢435million but ended up spending GH¢697million – an increase of GH¢262million. This was the result of an excess amount of GH¢266million released by EXIM Bank against the budget of GH¢308million for implementation of the Tema-Mpakadan project.

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