The Ghana Railway Company Limited has been issued a two-month ultimatum to complete rehabilitation works on the Takoradi-Tarkwa rail lines or risk having some top officials and staff being sanctioned.
The ultimatum was given by the Minister of Railway Development, Mr Joe Ghartey, during an inspection visit to the railway workshop in Essikado in the Western Region.
Although Mr Ghartey expressed satisfaction with the progress of work, he tasked the company to do its best to ready the rail network by October this year.
According to him, the assurances of getting that phase of the Western rail lines complete has been revised on several occasions on grounds of some technical and logistical challenges. He noted that most of these issues have been resolved and that there would be no excuse if some substantial work is not done by the end of September this year, in fulfilment of the October deadline.
“They [Ghana Railway Company Limited] gave us the promise that they will go to Tarkwa sometime ago. If by the end of September, I don’t see anything positive that they will reach Tarkwa in October, then I would have to recommend that heads must roll because somebody is not doing his work.
“We have to crack the whip,” he said.
Mr Ghartey justified that the company has been given some technical and logistical resources including a salary raise so as to motivate the staff to work assiduously to complete the project on schedule.
“The government has so far put about GHS105 million into the Railway Company Limited. They’ve used it to buy track tools, slippers, employed more staff … we’ve employed about 300 more people. Their salaries have just been increased by 20 per cent, and, so, they have no excuse. They have to deliver.
“Two years ago, they said they were going to reach Tarkwa and they haven’t. So, I’m giving them September to complete Nsawam. When they finish Nsawam, they will move their men to this line within 30 days. From the day they reach Nsawam, I’ll come and inspect this line and I’ll make my recommendations whether or not I’m satisfied with their work”, he stated.
The Deputy Managing Director in charge of Engineering at the Ghana Railway Company Limited, Dr Michael Adjei Anyatei, noted that some rigorous work would be pursued to meet the deadline.
“He’s given us the deadline to make sure that the passenger service from Takoradi to Tarkwa is completed. We have to. We have no choice”, said Dr Anyatei.
He explained that the delays were as a result of engineering and calibration work that need to be satisfied for the passenger freight.
“We need to do detailed work on the cross levels to make sure that when you sit on the train, you can ride comfortably. All we need to do is probably to double-up because now he’s [Mr Ghartey] serious,” Dr Anyatei remarked.