A senior law lecturer, Moses Foh Amoaning, has praised Hon. Joe Ghartey for the tremendous work he did in the railways sector of Ghana.
Speaking on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana with broadcaster Paul Adom Otchere, on Thursday, January 28, 2021, Lawyer Foh Amoaning says Hon. Ghartey laid “a solid foundation” for the development of Ghana’s railway sector.
He however seemed to have suggested that Hon. Ghartey, despite all the good work he did for the advancement and development of Ghana’s railway sector, was replaced simply because he declared his intention to contest in the NPP presidential race.
“I was a bit worried about railway because I thought Joe has done well enough, I don’t know whether his earlier comment about…I think that cost him,” according to lawyer Foh Amoaning.
“I think that his (Joe’s) deputy, Andy, they did a good work over there (Railways sector),” he added.
“They have laid a solid foundation and I thought that Joe was going to be allowed to grow it. I don’t know how Amewu is going to fare over there,” he stressed.
Hon. Ghartey was the Minister of Railways Development from 2017 to 2021.
President Nana Akufo-Addo replaced Hon. Ghartey with John Peter Amewu as railway Minister, in a move that many political analysts believe is a well calculated attempt by the President to adversely affect the Essikado-Ketan Constituency’s Member of Parliament presidential ambition.
Under Hon. Ghartey’s stewardship, Ghana’s railway sector which was virtually dead prior to he assuming office, was resurrected.
Many of the tracks in existence prior to Hon. Ghartey’s appointment as Railways Development Minister, were those built during colonial times. For instance, the Accra-Nsawam rail line which was developed around 1910-1912.
Hon. Ghartey’s focus was first to rebuild the entire railway network across Ghana, moving the country away from its colonial narrow gauge tracks to modern standard gauge rail lines, and then bring in modern trains. It was under his leadership that the 30km Accra-Tema, 33km Achimota-Nsawam, and 56km Kojokrom-Tarkwa rail lines were rehabilitated.
Through his excellent negotiation skills as President Akufo-Addo himself once acknowledged openly, Hon. Ghartey sealed several big deals for the railway sector, with one of the deals involving a consortium of Chinese companies led by Dongfang Electrical, in partnership with CRRC Dalian and the CRRC Qiqihar Rolling Stock Company (QRRS), for the supply of passenger locomotives and rolling stocks to Ghana.
The deal with the Chinese consortium worth $243.6 million was for the supply of nine passenger locomotives capable of speeds of 160km/h, 15 freight locomotives and 11 shunters.
In addition, Dongfang will supply 48 passenger coaches, 230 box wagons and 100 flat wagons and the first batch of two locomotives is scheduled for delivery by June 2021, with a further seven by the end of the same year. The final 26 locomotives will arrive according to a flexible timeframe over the subsequent 18 months, with the order being part of efforts initiated by Hon. Ghartey to revitalise Ghana’s rail infrastructure which includes the modernisation of existing narrow-gauge railways, as well as the construction of several new standard gauge lines, including the $ 2.2bn, 340km Tema – Accra – Koforidua – Kumasi Eastern Rail line,
The existing 1,067mm gauge colonial-era network had suffered from underinvestment and neglect in recent decades, declining from a peak of 947km in 1957 to around 10% of that figure when Hon. Ghartey took over.
Hon. Ghartey also succeeded in ensuring the establishment of the Ghana School of Railways and Infrastructure Development.
The School which is part of the University of Mines and Technology , Tarkwa, started operations on January 15, 2021, with an initial student population of 300. It is expected to admit at least 5,000 students over the next four years.
Story By: Melvin Tarlue