Sky train project: ‘Don’t be cynical, we are daring to be different’ – Joe Ghartey
The Minister for Railway Development, Mr. Joe Ghartey has reiterated Government’s resolve to see to the completion of the Sky train project only if Government becomes satisfied with the terms and conditions available by the company in charge of the project.
According to him, Government is not paying for the feasibility of the project, but only liaising with other Government agencies to grant the company behind the Sky train project access to complete its feasibility studies for the project.
Speaking in an interview on Citi TV, Mr. Joe Ghartey explained that the cynicism the project has been met with, won’t deter his ministry’s resolve to ensure the Skyline project is realised in the best interest of Ghanaians.
Mr. Ghartey likened the project to the building of the Akosombo dam by Ghana’s First President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah adding that, the dam was met with the same level of cynicism.
“Everything starts with an idea. When Kwame Nkrumah started Akosombo, they said it was a dream. We dare to be different. What it is, is that we are still going to negotiate in the best interest of Ghanaians,” he said.
The Minister added that the signing of the concession agreement only shows the Government’s desire to see to the completion of the project.
“The people have done their work, they have done their pre-feasibility. The people have spent hundreds and thousands of dollars to do this. We are not paying for the feasibility or pre-feasibility, we have not put a pesewa in it. All we are doing is, we are supporting them. If they want access, we write to the mayor of Accra, Roads and Highways Minister so they have access. To the greatest respect, these people are not crazy. If they think it can’t be done, the President of the Africa Development Bank, will not come and sit there and sign it.”
“We have signed the concession agreement…but doesn’t mean if we are given a deal we can’t explain to the people of Ghana, we will go ahead to do it. The figures must be right, the term, technology must be right and it must be safe.”
Justifying the need for the project, the Minister argued that placing the project on the ground would have meant that Government would have to pay a lot of compensation to individuals in order to get the train to where people and traffic are.
“The beauty of trains is that, it must go where passengers are, it must go where traffic is, and also on the ground, you may have to pay too much compensation. You may not even be able to go to certain places because people will not just allow you to take over their property, so one of the options was for them to elevate the train and put it on the pillars.”
Earlier this month, the Government signed the Concession Agreement for the construction of the Accra SkyTrain Project.
The deal was signed on the sidelines of the African Investment Forum which was held in South Africa.
At the signing ceremony, President Akufo-Addo described it as “a happy day for Ghana and her good people.”
He added that it was a “critical step towards the consummation of this project.”
The President further thanked the SkyTrain Consortium for backing the project which “is meeting an important infrastructural need.”
SkyTrain systems are pre-fabricated using precision moulded, pre-stressed reinforced concrete components that are capable of being installed at a very rapid rate, meaning that there is minimal disruption and congestion in the urban area that is undergoing installation and commissioning.
The proposed SkyTrain initiative in Accra provides for the development of five routes, four of which are comprised of radial routes that originate at the proposed SkyTrain Terminal, at the heart of Accra, at a newly developed Kwame Nkrumah circle, and one route that provides and intra-city commuter loop distribution service, also emanating from Circle.
The Project envisages a total track length across all routes of 194 kilometres.
It is expected to ease the increasing road traffic congestion in Accra and boost economic activities in the capital city Accra.
The African Investment SkyTrain Consortium is made up Wilson Bayly Holmes, a construction engineering company in South Africa; BUNENGI Group, a project development company focused on developing projects in infrastructure; and Ai Capital, the investment and financing arm of the Ai Group, one of the most in influential international investment banking advisory groups focused on Africa.