Parliament has approved a total amount of over GHC576 million for the Ministry of Railways Development for the implementation of its programmes for the 2022 fiscal year.
The breakdown of the 2022 budget estimate for the Ministry of Railways Development includes compensations GHC5,291,000.00; goods and services GHC13,037,000.00; capital expenditure GHC557,642,000.00.
Mr John-Peter Amewu, the Minister of Railways Development in moving the motion for the budget’s approval, said the Railways sector continues to be a vital priority of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
To this end, the Minister noted that the 2022 Budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Railways Development would be applied to activities geared towards the revitalization and modernization of Ghana’s Railways system to facilitate the efficient movement of goods and passengers.
He said the focus of the 2022 budget of the Ministry would be the continuation of all the ongoing development works; such as the ongoing works on the Western Line and the continuation of construction works on standard gauge rails on the Tema-Mpakadan line
Mr Amewu said the Eastern Rail Line was also being considered and that the acquisition of new rail stock would also be considered in 2022.
Mr Kennedy Nyarko Osei, Chairman, Parliamentary Committee on Roads and Transport, said the Committee was informed that the new standard gauge Western Railway Line was expected to continue from Manso to Huni Valley in 2022 by Messrs Amandi under a Credit Facility secured by the Government.
He said the Project would include the conversion of the dual gauge tracks between Takoradi and Kojokrom from narrow gauge to standard gauge; the construction of a new standard gauge rail line from Takoradi Station to Takoradi Port in order to have a continuous standard gauge connection from the Port to the Nsuta Bauxite mine and other mines to facilitate the efficient haulage of minerals.
He said additionally, government was providing funds under the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) for the development of a new six kilometre standard gauge rail line in Kumasi from Adum to Kaase.
He said the contractor, Messrs David Walter Limited had mobilized to site to undertake site clearance works for the construction of the new standard gauge line.
“The Project is expected to be completed over a 12-month construction period,” he said.
Mr Osei said inadequate budgetary allocation and delays in the release of funds over the years had greatly hampered the effective performance of the Ministry of Railways Development.
“To ensure accelerated economic growth and development in the country, it is important for the Ministry to be adequately resourced to enable it to address the challenges in the railway sector.”
Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza, Ranking Member, Parliamentary Committee on Roads and Transport, said once again the bulk of the money allocation given to the Ministry of Railways Development in the 2021 budget was not released; saying the “the bulk of the money they had was what development partners spent in relations to Tema-Mpakadan project so far.
“Mr Speaker, in 2021 the Ministry projected to spend GHC3.7 million on compensation, as at September this year, they’ve drawn down less than 40 per cent. Mr Speaker there must be something wrong. Because by the end of September you should be drawing down about 70 per cent of your compensation. Either they didn’t recruit the people or they refused to pay them.
“So, I don’t know why you should have the situation where your compensation budget is so underutilized? Yet in 2022 you are projecting to spend GHC5.2 million when you couldn’t even utilize much of what you were given in 2021. Mr Speaker it doesn’t add up. I think the Ministry must explain.”