The Ghana Railway Worker’s Union has thrown its support behind the move by the Ghana Railway Company Limited to sign a $3.2 billion loan agreement with Thelo DB Railway of South Africa to revamp the company.
The Union had earlier raised reservations about the contract, accusing their company of failing to involve them in the contract discussions.
“Our attention has been drawn to a social media report indicating a supposed contract to be signed between Ghana Railway Company and Thelo DB Railway of South Africa. As a stakeholder in the Ghana Railway Company limited, we are really surprised that we are not in the known of the details of the contract and our desire in really getting to have more insight into the supposed deal is not forthcoming. We labour, we welcome any arrangement to put the railway back to track. However, any arrangement we are not sure of, we will not hesitate to express our displeasure about it,” a statement from the Union had explained.
But the Union appears to have beat a retreat.
At a press conference on Tuesday, August 16, after an engagement with the board of the Company, the Union and other branches of the company, General Secretary of the Union Godwill Ntarmah explained that their earlier reservations were only to ensure that the Union is involved in every discussion about the contract.
“After our press release, the Ministry invited us and took us through the draft agreement. Because it was our first time we had to come back and also meet over what we have been shown. Truth be told, we have asked all the questions that we think need to be asked about the contract so that we can have a perfect contract to help the railway’s forward match.”
Mr. Ntarmah indicated that after various engagements, the Union has come to the conclusion that the agreement would be good in lifting railways out of its current difficulties.
“If this agreement goes through it will be the best that will help push the railway company forward. We are in distress and if a company with huge sums of money like this is going to be invested into the company and make sure we have perfect lines, locomotives, trucks and training of workers then certainly it is a good move that we have to support.”
He is hopeful that the analyses of the draft contract being done by the Attorney General and the Finance Ministry will be diligent to ensure Ghana gets a good deal.
Ghana is to sign a $3.2billion framework agreement for the Western Railway Line Project with the Thelo DB consortium.
The project includes Planning (all project preparation-related activities, such as feasibility studies, demand analysis, preliminary and detailed design, and procurement consulting); Implementation (systems engineering design, construction supervision, design review, audit systems engineering, testing and commissioning of rolling stock and infrastructure); and Operations and Maintenance Management (early train operator, consulting services in terms of infrastructure operations, rolling stock operations, infrastructure and rolling stock maintenance).