The Transport ministry has directed that, the auctioning of bungalows belonging to the Ghana Railway Company Limited (GRCL) by Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) for their nonpayment of workers contributions be put on hold.
This directive comes after SSNIT secured a court order, to auction three bungalows belonging to the Ghana Railway Company Limited for non – payment of its workers contributions to the trust.
The Transport ministry following a meeting with SSNIT and the Ghana Railway Company limited yesterday, Monday 12th August 2014, directed that the auction which was to take place tomorrow, Wednesday 13th August 2014, be put on hold.
The Chief Director of the Transport Ministry Twumasi – Ankrah Selby who spoke to Citi Business News after the meeting with all parties involved, said the Ghana Railway Company Limited, has been asked to come up with a plan on how they intend to settle debts owned the Social Security and National Insurance Trust.
“Though SSNIT is right in demanding the workers contributions, SSNIT and GRCL are all government institutions, so the GRCL has been asked to come up with a plan as how they would pay for the debt and if they are not able to raise the required money, then they can ask government for support.”
General Secretary for the Railway Workers Union, Godwill Ntarmah in earlier interview with Citi Business News appealed to SSNIT to reconsider its decision to auction the bungalows since the company was already in a distressed position.
“The GRCL has not been itself for some time, now we rely seriously on central government to support most of the things we do. So GRCL cannot do much, if SSNIT auctions the bungalows then all other properties of the company will be at risk, so government must come to our aid” He said.
The Ghana Railway Company Limited for some time now has been saddled with financial challenges.
Last month railway workers across the country embarked on an indefinite strike to demand better conditions of service and an increment in their salaries.
Deputy Transport Minister, Joyce Bawah-Mogtari told Citi Business News at the time that the Ministry was unable to meet all the demands of the workers over the years because the industry “had been in decline for the last 20 years, they are not even operating half the services that they require and they are not making as much money as they require to support their payroll.”
Apart from dealing with issues of conditions of service government is also struggling to revamp the industry.
The railway system is estimated to require an amount of $1.2 million to revamp the Western railway line alone.
The railway line from Tema Port in the Grater Accra Region to Kumasi in the Ashanti Region will require $500 million.
Government last month announced it will revamp the sector through a Public Private Partnership (PPP).
By: Norvan Acquah-Hayford/citifmonline.com/Ghana