14 coys shortlisted for contract award for Eastern railway line

Mr Kwaku Agyenim-Boateng (middle)with other official at the conference

Mr Kwaku Agyenim-Boateng (middle)with other official at the conference

About 14 companies have been shortlisted for the last stage of procurement processes for award of contract for the Eastern railway line.

Out of the number, only one is expected to be awarded the contract for the about 330 kilometre rail stretch linking Accra to Kumasi with a branch line from Achimota to the Tema Port.

The project would be undertaken on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) financing basis where the investor through a concession agreement would design, operate and maintain the rail lines over a stipulated period of years.

He would have the responsibility to raise the finance for the project and retain all revenue generated by the project during the period after which, the facility would be handed over to government.

Speaking to the media after a bidders’ conference in Accra yesterday, the Deputy Minister for Railway Development, Kwaku Agyenim-Boateng disclosed that more than 30 companies both local and foreign had earlier expressed interest in supporting the revamp of the Eastern rail sector.

“Out of the number that expressed interest, we have sieved through to get this shortlisted number. We want to make sure we get the right people with the technical capacity and expertise to do a good job that will last for centuries to come,” he stated.

According to the Deputy Minister, government was poised to commence work on the rail lines by November this year as projected in the mid-year budget review and as such, it had given listed bidders “within two months to submit their proposals for final consideration and selection”.

“The construction of this rail line is very important as it connects two major cities, Accra and Kumasi and you cannot imagine the immense contribution the re-connection of these lines would bring to the economy in terms of easy transportation, trade among others,” he maintained.

Touching on the perennial problem of encroachment along rail lines, Mr. Agyenim-Boateng indicated that government would not condone such acts any longer stressing that, “we cannot allow people to continue to do what they like. Our principle now is to clear the corridor so if you are within it, then you are illegal and we have to clear you”.

The Eastern Railway Line built in 1923 has been non-operational for the past few years as its tracks are in deplorable state with the sleepers and ballast cushions virtually wiped out.

However, in its mid-year budget review to Parliament on July 19th, 2018, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta made known intentions to allocate 200 million dollars for the construction of the Eastern Corridor line from Accra-Tema-Nsawam.

A master project support agreement for a loan facility of US$2 billion in “exchange for Ghana’s refined bauxite” approved by the House, was also to go into bridging the country’s infrastructural deficit.

The money, to be accessed from Chinese firm, SynoHydro Group Limited, would support projects in the road sector, railway, hospitals, housing, rural electrification, interchanges among others.

By Abigail Annoh

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