Only 64 kilometres of railway lines are operational in the country in spite of the fact that the Ghana railway company(GRC) has 1,400 workers on its payroll, the minister of railway development Mr joe Ghartey has said.
Out of the entire stretch of railway lines, 54 kilometres from Nsuta to Kojokrom and about 10 kilometres from Accra to Tema are currently operational.
Speaking at the 5th Alumni public lecture of the University of mines and technology(UMaT) at Tarkwa last Saturday, Mr Ghartey asked:” can you imagine the number of people we can employ when we have 4,000 kilometres of railway lines?
The lecture focused on the topic” Ghana’s Railway Infrastructure Development, Challenges and Opportunities for the mineral industry”.
Mr Ghartey said the ministry would, in the next four years, spend about $7.8 billion which was about 30% of gross domestic product(GDP) on the building of railways.
He noted that the ministry should be able to sustain the railway lines as there was no point constructing a railway network which would not last long and another government would be forced to re-invest heavily in the same sector.
Mr Ghartey said the ministry, GRC and UMaT had agreed to develop courses in railways to improve upon the current state of the rail sector.
The programme, when operational, would lead to the award of certificates and degrees.
The minister hinted that the vice chancellor of UMat, Professor Jerry Kuma had assured him that it was not an impossible task for a programme to be developed in railways.
He said the ministry had a training school and that it would liaise with UMat to build the railway sector for the benefit of Ghanaians.
Mr. Ghartey added that he was hopeful the cooperation between the ministry and UMat would bear fruits, create professionals, develop the human resource and foundation upon which the railway sector would grow.
According to him, in India, apart from farming, the rail sector was the next major employer.
For his part, Professor Kuma promised to do everything possible to make sure that the railway training school stood tall in the development of the sector.
He said with the one- district one factory initiative of the president, there was an indication that majority of the youth would be able to secure jobs once the railways becomes operational.
Prof. Kuma stated that the university was fully behind the ministry to make sure the needed manpower development for the sector was provided.