Parliament has approved the budget estimates of over GH¢7 billion for the three transport-sector ministries for their activities for the year ending December 31, 2023.
They are the Ministry of Roads and Highways, GH¢5,295,359,626, Ministry of Transport, GH¢1,226,619,067 and the Ministry of Railway Development, GH¢618,238,688.
The approval of the estimates for the above ministries is the first of many to come as the House races against time to go through all the four phases of the budget approval process before it adjourns sine die on December 21, 2022.
The process did not face any opposition from the Minority, despite concerns about developments across the three ministries, as they thought there could be improvement.
For example, they expressed concern about the proposed Keta Sea Port having a managing director but no work being done on site and the non-reduction in transport fares despite reductions in prices of petroleum products at the pump over the past weeks as the Ghana cedi appreciated against the US dollar.
Both sides of the House also wanted a decapping of the Road Fund by the Minister of Finance to allow it to cater for the construction of more roads; to clear the growing indebtedness to road contractors; and address the lack of a funding model for the railway sector.
The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, in his remarks before his Ministry got its estimates approved, said transport fares might be reduced in the coming days as stakeholders commenced negotiations.
He said though prices of petroleum products had seen a reduction at the pumps, three indices – spare parts, depreciation of the currency and petroleum product prices – determined the prices.
“Even though the prices of petroleum products are coming down and the cedi gaining some strength against the US dollar, there’s the need to go through a process and stakeholders are already engaging and at the end of it, transport operators will do some reduction in fares,” he said.
The Boankra Integrated Logistics Terminal, popularly called the Boankra Inland Port, Mr Asiamah said would be 80 per cent complete by December 2023 and fully completed by mid-2024.
Concerning the Keta Port, he said feasibility study had been completed with US$5 million allocated for the construction of the administrative office of the port beginning in the first quarter of next year.
The Minister of Railway Development, Mr John Peter Amewu, said the Tema-Mpakadan railway line was 98 per cent complete and would be opened for use in the first quarter of next year.
He said “if the route finally comes on stream, it will become the ideal route of transporting goods to the northern part of the country via the Volta Lake to reduce the pressure on the country’s roads.”
The Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Atta, said as part of programmes initiated by the ministry, the expansion of the Tema Motorway would soon commence.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI