Agenda for growth 2019 budget focuses on massive infrastructural devt

Mr Ofori-Atta  delivering the budget statement

Mr Ofori-Atta delivering the budget statement

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, yesterday presented the government’s 2019 budget to Parliament and announced plans by the government to spend GH¢73.4 billion next year.

 

The amount, which is equivalent to 21.3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), represents an increase of 27 per cent of the projected outturn for 2018.

 

On capital expenditure, the government has projected to spend GH¢8.5 billion, 55.7 per cent increase over the 2018 projected outturn.

 

The Finance Minister said in 2019, the government would invest massively in the development of road and infrastructure from a variety of funding sources and announced a number of road projects expected to commence or completed next year.

 

“Mr Speaker, in 2019 government in partnership with the private sector through Public Private Partnership arrangements will undertake various projects including Accra-Takoradi Highway Dualisation, Accra-Tema Motorway and Accra-Kumasi Highway Dualisation,” he said.

 

On the development of railway infrastructure, he said the 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.

 

The project, he said, was expected to be completed next year and added that work would soon commence on the rehabilitation works on the 70.8km narrow gauge sections of the Eastern Railway Line from Accra to Nsawam and Accra to Tema.

 

“The Achimota to Tema section is 90 per cent complete and Achimota to Accra Central and Achimota to Nsawam will be completed by end of 2018”.

 

“Rehabilitation will continue to Koforidua in 2019. Mr Speaker, the feasibility studies for the proposed 596km Greenfield Railway Line from Kumasi to Paga, popularly known as the Central Spine, has been undertaken. Phase 1 from Kumasi to Buipe section will commence in 2019,” he said.

 

The minister noted that feasibility studies had commenced and will be pursued in 2019 on a rail link between the Tema Port and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso stretch on a build operate transfer (BOT) basis.

 

Additionally, he said there would be feasibility studies on the development of Metro / Light Rail Transit Systems in Accra and Kumasi such as the recently signed Accra Sky Train project and the trans-ECOWAS line from Aflao through Cape Coast to Elubo.

 

There would also be a re-development of the Central Line from Kotoku in the Greater Accra Region to Huni Valley in the Western Region, he said.

 

“Mr Speaker, the Railway Location Workshop, also at Essikado, is being modernised 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 re-launch of the railway system in Ghana,” he said.

 

On the provision of potable water, Mr Ofori-Atta expressed the government’s commitment to ensure the continuous expansion of urban water system through the ‘Water for All’ agenda.

 

Systems to be expanded in 2019 and over the medium term include the Kpong Water Supply Expansion Project – phase 2, Aqua Africa Water Project, Yendi Water Project, Damongo Water Project, Wenchi Water Project, Tamale Water Supply Expansion Project, Sunyani Water Project, Sekondi-Takoradi Water Project and Essiama Water Project, he said

 

In 2019, the minister said the government would lay 190 km of pipelines across the country and construct nine water systems each in the Northern Region and Central Regions, five in Brong-Ahafo Region and two in the Upper West Region.

 

Additionally, he said the government would construct 12 fully reticulated small towns’ pipe systems and six limited mechanised systems in the Volta Region.

 

“Mr Speaker, as part of the overall strategy to position Ghana as a transport and logistics hub, government continued to develop the port infrastructure through the construction of new container terminals at the Tema Port to increase container handling capacity, provide additional berths, reduce waiting time and ensure quick access to the Port”

 

“The first berth with a depth weight capacity of 16.0 metres is 42 per cent complete and is scheduled to be operational by 2019. Mr Speaker, to develop the Takoradi Port as an Oil and Gas hub, government commenced the development and operation of an on-dock container multi-purpose terminal with a container quay of 16-metre draft to accommodate bigger vessels”

 

“The first phase of the Dry Bulk Jetty which involves the construction of the 600m quay wall was completed. The second phase of an additional 200m quay wall will commence in 2019,” he said.

 

Mr Ofori-Atta noted that the government had facilitated the construction of the Anloga fish landing site to enhance the productivity of fishers.

 

In addition, he said 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 those landing sites as well as the Phase II of the Anomabo Fisheries College would commence in 2019, he said.

 

“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,” he said.

 

The second phase of the project, which would commence in 2019, would entail the construction of 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, he said.

 

As part of efforts to complement the multi-modal transport system and support the movement of people and goods within the sub-region, he said work on the Kumasi Airport Phase II Project had commenced to upgrade the airport 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 one million passengers per year and other ancillary works. The project is expected to be 30 per cent complete by the end of 2018,” he said and added that implementation would continue in 2019.

 

The Finance Minister announced that Cabinet had 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 and promote tourism.

 

Strategic investors would be engaged, and the airline is expected to commence operations in 2019, he added.

BY KINGSLEY ASARE, YAW KYEI AND JULIUS PETETSI

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