STCCI urged to develop industrial parks
The Minister of Railway Development, Joe Ghartey, has challenged the Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (STCCI) to develop industrial parks in anticipation of the revitalisation of the railways sector in Ghana.
This, he argued, would enable businesses to tap into the huge opportunities that railways provide in the Western Region, especially in the hospitality, real estates and the transportation sectors of the economy.
Mr Ghartey threw the challenge at a public lecture organised by STCCI on the theme: ‘The railway revitalisation and sustainable development: Approach, Status and Opportunities’ in Takoradi, on Monday.
He recalled that in early 19th centuries, the Gold Coast became the largest producer of cocoa along the hinterlands in Kumasi areas, with the railway providing the pivot and believed that the same opportunities could be taped in the Western Region “if STCCI and businesses rise to the challenge”.
“There are lots of opportunities and we need to learn from our forefathers, who then carried cocoa on their heads and became rich due to their foresights. At the time, there was nothing like the Ghana Cocoa Marketing Board,” Mr Ghartey added.
He explained that with the expansion works on the railway system at Eshiem in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, more investors were feverishly acquiring lands in the area to invest in real estate development, and hoped that STCCI would be encouraged to build industry parks to reap the huge opportunities railways provided for Ghanaian businesses.
Government, in its efforts to revamp the Western Railway line, he said, began the reconstruction of some sections with its own funding, and this include the Sekondi-Takoradi via Kojokrom section with the reconstruction of a new 10-kilometre narrow gauge (which could be converted to standard gauge line) to restore passenger services between the twin cities of Sekondi and Takoradi.
The works, he mentioned,
were being executed by Messrs Amandi Holdings Limited.
Mr Ghartey told the participants that works began in January 2017 by Amandi Holdings for the extension of the new standard gauge line from Kojokrom to Manso, a distance of 22 kilometres, with the first section from Kojokrom to Eshiem (five km), which was also ongoing.
He declared: “We have to reposition ourselves and take advantage of the huge opportunities from the economic activities coming along with railway revitalisation, and I challenge the STCCI to build industrial parks.
“Let’s show the world that the black man is capable of managing his own affairs. At 60, we can manage our affairs, indeed, we must make money. Ghana railway is at Eshiem and wherever there is the railway, there are opportunities. People have started coming to acquire lands,” he said.
The Western Regional Minister, Mr Kobby Okyere Darko-Mensah, who chaired the lecture, noted that the revitalisation and expansion of the railways was “good news” for the economy of Takoradi.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, TAKORADI