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Joe Ghartey NewJoe Ghartey is Minister of Railway Development
Mr Joe Ghartey, the Minister of Railway Development, has said about one million tonnes of freight transited through Tema and Takoradi ports to Burkina Faso as at September 2017.

He said 176,000 tonnes of cargo transited through Takoradi Port while 700,000 tonnes passed through the Tema Port respectively.

He expressed optimism that the completion of a 1,100-kilometre railway project from Accra to Ouagadougou by the year 2020 would improve freight and boost economic activities between the two countries.

Mr Ghartey made this known at the side-lines of a meeting held in Accra on Thursday, by the Ghana-Burkina Faso Joint Committee of Experts on Railway Interconnectivity Project.

The Railway Interconnectivity Project would be undertaken under Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement by a private investor.

The committee comprised technocrats from the two countries and are supposed to meet every two weeks for deliberations, which is geared towards the implementation of the project.

Mr Ghartey said under the Railway Master Plan, the country intended to construct 4,000 kilometres of rail lines across the country, which was supposed to be completed by 2047.

He said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had held series of discussions with his Burkinabe counterpart intended to ensure the construction of rail lines to link the two nations.

The Railway Minister said Ghana had reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Burkina Faso, which agreed that the former would select a Transaction Advisor for the project, while the former selects a contractor.

Mr Ghartey noted that, the proposal by the contractor would be reviewed by the Transaction Advisor and that a treaty would be signed between the two countries to pave way for the commencement of the project.

However, he said, the MoU would be endorsed in the next meeting in Burkina Faso slated for March 9, 2018, after the Joint Committee had presented its final report.

Mr Ghartey said government had formed a Sub Legal Committee, which would study the various proposals by the Joint Committee of Experts, subject to ratification by the respective countries.

He said governments of the two countries were supposed to comply with sound procurement processes to ensure a fair playing field.

The Railway Minister said government would not pay compensation to individuals, who had encroached on the railway Right-of-Way.

However, he said, those whose property would be affected for no fault of theirs would be adequately compensated after negotiations had been completed.

Mr Ghartey said some recalcitrant individuals were still building on railway Right-of Way in Accra Central despite the issuance of a directive for them to stop work, saying; “We cannot allow lawlessness to reign over this country and we will breakdown those properties without paying compensation to them”

“Under the Constitution the President has the power to take over any land, which is of public interest, however fair and adequate compensation must be paid,” he explained.

He said government would pay compensation when it was required under the law to do so, therefore the cost of the project would take into consideration all compensation issues before work would start.

Mr Ghartey said the local content laws of each country would be respected so that indigenous contractors could execute projects to fast-track completion of the project.

He said government would continue to create an enabling environment for investment, adding that, a railway project was capital intensive. “One of the reasons investors are coming to Ghana is due to the political stability here, and it is worthy to note that, no investor will invest in a country that is unstable”.

He said the railway project would transform the lives of the peoples of the two countries and move their economies beyond aid.

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