The Ghana Railway Development Authority says it will petition Parliament to pass a legislation that limits the tonnage of goods that can be transported via roads.
Earlier this week, the Authority signed a five hundred-million-dollar contract for the development of the Western Rail line.
Speaking to Citi Business News, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Railway Development Authority, Richard Diedong Dombo, emphasized the benefits of the project to the sector, and says the introduction of the legislation would among other things ensure the longevity of the country’s road network.
“At the moment, because trains are not really using that route and yet there is mining of manganese there, a lot of it go by road. And so, these heavy vehicles as well as these Dangote cement vehicles that carry clinker, heavy vehicles keep using roads that were not designed for these kinds of roads and so the roads don’t last. Annually, the Ministry of Roads and Highways gives money for contractors to go and rehabilitate, and not long after it is done, they are off again. And there is no social corporate responsibility on the part of these heavy users because they don’t ply back to fix these roads that central government has fixed,” he said.
“Now, when we actually have a functional and running train system, as we are doing from such signing of the contract, I believe the next step will be for us to petition Parliament to limit the tonnage that can be used on the roads. That will be one major victory that if you exceed a certain tonnage, you must go by train and that is why one of the benefits of the standard gauge is that it takes up to 25 tonnes axle load which means any number of containers coming from the harbour will have easy ride with no effect on the environment,” he added.
Government in November 2019, already announced that it was going to channel resources to fix many of the country’s deplorable roads as many roads in parts of the country have become a challenge to many.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, during the 2020 budget presentation to Parliament said the government has also been able to mobilize the financing for over 150 roads nationwide.
He announced that government projects to spend GH¢9.3 billion, equivalent to 2.3 per cent of GDP on selected infrastructure projects across the country next year.