Ghana Budget: We’ll invest heavily in road, other infrastructure – Finance Minister

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Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, has in the 2019 budget statement announced that government will be investigating massively in road, railways and air transport, from a variety of funding sources.

As it is often done in many budget presentations, the Minister gave a tall list of roads to be constructed in almost all ten regions of the country.

As usual, many roads that have never been completed despite receiving mention in previous budget presentations were mentioned again.

This pledge comes at a time when many road users across the country, have been expressing rage at government over bad roads.

“Mr. Speaker, infrastructure, both hard and soft, is the backbone of economic development and growth, as well as a source of jobs and wealth for a majority of people. In a rapidly changing global marketplace, traditional infrastructure like electricity and power, transport and logistics, water and sanitation, roads, highways, and railways have combined with new, mostly soft infrastructure like digitization of government services to enable emerging economies like ours leapfrog the development path to prosperity. Mr. Speaker, this Government, is committed to embarking on an integrated infrastructural development programme across the country that will move goods, food items and people from one location to another that will create jobs and prosperity and ensure value for money for Ghana as well as position Ghana as the transportation, energy and logistics hub in the region.”

“Mr. Speaker, to ensure efficient management of infrastructure, we will soon submit a bill to set up the Ghana Asset Management Corporation. Mr. Speaker, with your permission I will like to inform Ghanaians on what we have done so far on infrastructure and the massive investments commencing in 2019. Mr. Speaker, in 2019, we will invest massively in the development of road and infrastructure, from a variety funding sources and the following projects have been identified to commence in 2019. Mr. Speaker, in addition to the above, in 2019 Government in partnership with the private sector through PPP arrangements will undertake various projects including Accra–Takoradi Highway Dualisation, Accra – Tema Motorway and Accra – Kumasi Highway Dualisation.”

Railway Sector

The Minister said on the development of Railway infrastructure, government, in 2018, commenced the rehabilitation of the existing 56 km narrow gauge line from Kojokrom to Tarkwa through Nsuta corridor to restore passenger rail and freight services for the first time since 2007. This will be completed in 2019.

He said work also commenced on rehabilitation works on the 70.8km narrow gauge sections of the Eastern Railway Line from Accra to Nsawam and Accra to Tema. He noted that the Achimota to Tema section is 90 percent complete, and Achimota to Accra Central and Achimota to Nsawam will be completed by end of 2018.

Rehabilitation will continue to Koforidua in 2019, he added.

“Mr. Speaker, the following feasibility studies commenced and will be pursued in 2019: a. rail link on BOT basis between the Tema Port and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; b. Development of Metro / Light Rail Transit Systems in Accra and Kumasi such as the recently signed Accra Sky Train project; c. Trans-ECOWAS line from Aflao through Cape Coast to Elubo; and d. Re-development of the Central Line from Kotoku in the Greater Accra Region to Huni Valley in the Western Region. Mr. Speaker, the Railway Location Workshop, also at Essikado, is being modernized and equipped, and will be completed in 2019 to become a one-stop workshop to serve the railway, mining, petroleum and agricultural industries. We are confident, 2019 will witness the relaunch of the railway system in Ghana.”

On air transport, he said cabinet has approved a PPP arrangement for a national airline which should begin operations in 2019.

“Mr. Speaker, work on Tamale Airport Phase II received regulatory approvals for the construction of a new Terminal building and will serve the Sahelian region. In 2019, the contract agreement will be finalized, and construction works.commenced. The project is expected to be 65 percent complete by the end of 2019. 130. Finally, Mr. Speaker, Cabinet has given approval for the establishment of a Home-Based Airline with private sector participation to provide regional and inter-continental services for efficient movement of people, goods and services as well as promote tourism. Strategic investors will be engaged, and the airline is expected to commence operations in 2019.”

He also mentioned the expansion of airports in Tamale and Kumasi, as well as the expansion of the Takoradi and Tema Ports.

“To complement the multi-modal transport system and support the movement of people and goods within the sub-region, the Ministry commenced work on the Kumasi Airport Phase II Project to upgrade it to a real international airport. The works include extension of the runway from the current 1,981 metres to 2,300 metres, construction of new terminal building to handle 1 million passengers per year and other ancillary works. The project is expected to be 30 percent complete by the end of 2018. Implementation will continue in 2019.”

He said there would also be a construction of a fishing port at Elmina and others in some parts of the country.

“Government also facilitated the construction of the Anloga fish landing site to enhance the productivity of fishers. In addition, detailed construction designs and Environmental Impact Assessment studies were completed for landing sites at Teshie, Axim, Winneba, Mumford and a fishing harbour complex at James Town. Actual construction on these landing sites as well as the Phase II of the Anomabo Fisheries College will commence in 2019. Government has completed the first phase of the Elmina Fishing Port Rehabilitation and Expansion project which includes upgrading the existing fishing port as well as the construction of a new port with a basin area and a quay wall for vessels to moor and offload. The second phase of the project which will commence in 2019 will entail the construction new facilities such as shed for the fish market, fishing net mending and the construction of a new slipway for bigger vessels with a boat refurbishment area.”

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