Minister for Railways Development, Joe Ghartey, who doubles as Member of Parliament (MP) for Essikado-Ketan, has assured local engineers that the railway sector would fully engage their services in infrastructural development.
Mr Ghartey disclosed this when a team of engineers from the Ghana Consulting Engineers Association (GCEA) called on him at his office in Accra.
Reiterating government’s strong desire to use local expertise, Mr Ghartey said the Ministry of Trade and Industry would look at the legal framework for local content and participation after which their services would be fully engaged.
He gave assurance that the railway sector would be the single largest investor in Ghana in the next four years.
Ministry of Railways Development is one of the flagship programmes under the Akufo-Addo administration.
Government has clearly spelt out its decision to revamp the dormant railway sector to boost and transform the economy.
Taking the rail lines from Accra to Paga is the objective of the newly-created Ministry of Railways Development.
The once productive sector upon which the local economies of Tema, Nsawam, Sekondi Takoraidi and Taka were built, has since the late 90s lost its glory, becoming almost non-existent.
It is now confronted with huge challenges, which include broken and dysfunctional locomotives, as well as encroachment of the railway lines and lands.
The Minister said the priority project, when completed, will create industrial hub, rail estates, among others.
Highlighting some measures being put in place to achieve this vision, Mr Ghartey said the Ministry is in the process of creating legislative, institutional and regulatory reviews.
“The Ministry of Railways Development, which will change the economic fortunes of the country, will be a means to an end and will create new cities as far as the rails will go,” the Minister asserted.
Mr Ghartey urged the local engineers to have faith in the current government and also offer their expertise whenever they are called upon.
Currently, the Ghana Consulting Engineers Association is unable to absorb young engineers from the universities.
This, according to the President of the Association, Ing. Albert Ogyiri, is as a result of unsustainable job procurements which is hindering their ability to grow businesses to support government.
They therefore called on government to give priority to indigenous engineers to sustain and improve local content.
Local and foreign investors, who have expressed interest in various projects, would all go through a stricter tender.
The Ministry will also engage the services of a Transaction Advisor ensure transparency and fairness.