March 13, 2018

Government’s programme to develop Ghana’s railway network system is on course following the shortlisting of nine (9) firms to submit proposals for the Central Spine stretch of rail line from Kumasi- Paga also known as “the Ghana Railways Master Plan” project, Railways Development Minister has disclosed.

The Sector Minister, Joe Ghartey assured that his outfit and other implementing agencies are leaving no stone unturned as they go through the necessary due processes to ensure the realisation of the project.

“Mr Speaker, in this regard, the Ministry has gone through the first phase of the procurement process, that is the Expression of Interest phase and has shortlisted nine (9) firms who are to be issued with Request for Proposal documents to submit detailed Technical and Financial Proposals by the end of March, 2018 for further evaluation ” he told Parliament.

Mr Joe Ghartey stated these on the floor of Parliament where he appeared in response to a question by Adaklu Member of Parliament, Kwame Governs Agbodza who sought to know about the progress of work on the Kumasi – Paga railway project.

Procurement & Contract process

According to the Essikado-Ketan Member of Parliament, in line with provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2003,(Act 663) as amended by the Public Procurement (Amendment) Act, 2016, (Act 914), the Ministry went through a competitive tendering process and selected a consortium of firms led by MessrsGauffIngenieure and Messrs ILF Consulting Engineers all from Germany.

The firms were selected after an approval by the Tender Review Committee and the Entity Tender Committee of the Ministry. The contract for the project was signed on December, 22, 2017 whiles official work commenced with a kick off meeting on January, 25, 2018.

Feasibility studies on the project which expected to completed within six calendar month period is currently ongoing whiles a concurrent procurement has also been initiated to procure the services of a Transaction Advisor to procure private sector investor(s) to develop the railway lines from Kumasi-Paga after the feasibility studies.

Objective of Project

The overall objective of the project is to develop a railway corridor between Kumasi and Paga to improve rail and logistics infrastructure, as part of an integrated transport network in Ghana.

It is also seeks to improve rail transport services for passenger and freight to help reduce cost of transportation, especially in trade to and from the hinterland and the regions of the Northern part of the country.

The project will when completed will significantly reduce transportation cost of goods and services to Burkina Faso and other Sahelian countries.

Project Background

The Central Spine rail line also known as the Ghana Railway Master Plan which runs from Kumasi through Tamale to Paga is a 595 km green field project.

A green field project of such nature requires feasibility studies to determine its financial, economic, environmental and social viability.

The feasibility includes surveying and mapping-out of the right-of-way (RoW) for the railway line before the procurement of an EPEC Contractor to undertake the construction works.

Approximately, only 947 kilometers of Ghana’s rail network which is currently operational is faced with obsolete network and poor track infrastructure, resulting in the closure of greater part of the Western and Eastern lines and the entire Central line, leading to a high incidence of derailments that lead to loss of operational hours and damage to rolling stock.

Available data showed that the rail sector commanded an over-70% market share of freight and passenger transport in the country during colonial days until the 1970s, and carried over 2 million tonnes of freight and 8 million passengers annually in the 1960s and 1970s.

However, due to inadequate funding for maintenance, the rail network deteriorated leading to the diversion of freight traffic onto roads, exacerbating deterioration of the roads.

President Akufo-Addo’s Government has pledged to revamp the railway sector to open up Ghana’s economy.

By Christian Kpesese/