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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday cut the sod for work to commence on the 83.5-kilometre standard-gauge railway line from Kumasi to Obuasi in the Ashanti Region, as part of the new Western Line being constructed.
The President, during his third day tour of the Ashanti Region, said as of the time he took over as President in January 2017, barely 10% of the 947km of colonial narrow-gauge rail network bequeathed to Ghana by the colonialists, was operational.
He said apart from the 15-km narrow-gauge railway line built between 2012 and 2017, from Sekondi to Takoradi via Kojokrom, not a kilometre of railway line had been added.
“Upon my assumption of office, I was determined to change this statistic, because I believed that the presence of an efficient, effective railway system was critical to the progress, prosperity and development of our nation,” the President said, adding, “This led me to the decision to establish the Ministry of Railways Development, with the dynamic Hon. Joe Ghartey, Member of Parliament for Essikado Ketan, at the helm of affairs. By all accounts, this has started yielding fruits.”
“Today’s event, the cutting of the sod for the construction of the 83.5-km Kumasi to Obuasi line, is a clear manifestation of the Akufo-Addo government’s policy to grow and develop the country’s railway sector,” he indicated.
Earlier in the year, Cabinet and subsequently Parliament approved a €500 million agreement for the construction of a new standard-gauge line from Takoradi Harbour to Kojokrom, and also from Manso to Huni Valley, all in the Western Region.
When completed, 102km of new standard-gauge railway lines would have been constructed, as part of the redevelopment of a new standard-gauge Western Line.
President Akufo-Addo explained that the Western Line was critical to the successful establishment of the new bauxite and aluminum industry being promoted by the government.
The Sheini and Oppon Manso iron ore deposits, which will form the basis of the imminent iron and steel industry, according to the President, require a modern railway network to transport the ore and the processed raw material.
Additionally, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that work was progressing steadily on the Tema to Mpakadan Line, which is the first phase of the Eastern Line from Tema to Paga section of the Ghana-Burkina Railway Interconnectivity Project.
“This railway line has branch lines to Sheini and Oppon Manso. The exploitation of the bauxite deposits at Atiwa, as part of the nascent bauxite and aluminum industry, will also benefit from the construction of a new railway line,” he added.
The President talked about how the railway sector would facilitate activities at the Boankra Inland Port in the Ashanti Region which is about to be fully built following the approval by Parliament of a $300 million concession facility. Read more news here
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