Ghana announced a sky train project in 2018 but has made an interesting U-turn after three years.
The Skytrain project was to provide transportation to around 380,000 people each day, according to the government at the time of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under the former Minister for Railways Development, Joe Ghartey.
However, the Akufo-Addo government that pledged commitment for the project has said it is not possible for such investment to be made in the country at least in the next three years.
Answering a question in Parliament today, sector Minister John Peter Amewu said, “the sky train that we are talking about is the one that is going to run on columns in the sky like the ones you see in Dubai but no agreement has been signed.”
“It is not possible to be done now. I don’t see any sky train being done in the next 3-4 years. There is not going to be any Sky train in the country. It is not possible,” he stated.
But that was not the first time anyone in this government spoke about this project.
Signed on November 11, 2019, the concession agreement was to see the construction of a US$2.6 billion light rail system in Accra, Ghana, and was to be financed by the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund and the African Investment SkyTrain Consortium.
According to Peter Amewu, the government would not be able to fund the project owing to its intensity in terms of capital investment.
The Accra SkyTrain Project was envisaged to have a total track length of 194 kilometers across all routes and was projected to provide transportation to around 380,000 people each day.
On the back of that, GhanaWeb brings you a flashback of all the times the government gave assurances of the implementation of this project, until now when it has made this major U-turn.
Joe Ghartey in November 2018
In 2018, the then Minister for Railways Development, Joe Ghartey, on behalf of the government, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Africa Investment (Ai) SkyTrain Consortium, based in South Africa, for the construction of the Accra Sky Train Project.
With Accra experiencing ever-increasing road traffic congestion, with its detrimental effects on economic activity, pollution, and the quality of life, the SkyTrainÔ project, Ghartey emphasized, is the solution to these problems.
“There is confidence in the project. The promoters (Ai SkyTrain Consortium) are very serious, and that is why we invited the president himself, to witness the signing. This should assure the investors that Government is solidly behind it. The economics of this project are also good. We are very excited about the prospects,” he said.
The MoU was signed on Tuesday, 8th November, 2018, on the sidelines of the ongoing Africa Investment Forum, held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Joe Ghartey gives reassurances in 2019
“Mine is to tell the President and the people of Ghana whether the project is good or not but I can assure you that I will get it accomplished if it is a good deal. The train is a must because so far it is the best thing that has happened to us.”
Those were Joe Ghartey’s words of assurances a year after inspecting work on the Accra Nsawam railway line which was about 95 percent complete at the time.
He added that, “The skyline project is a private sector-led and we as a government have to go through the necessary process to ensure that there is a viable approach hence, we’re reviewing the contract. The engineers have submitted their feasibility report to cabinet and government has set up a competent team to review it.”
Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah in 2020
The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, in 2020, said that the Accra Sky Train project, which was scheduled to start operating this August of that year, had not started.
He was responding to a question on why the government, in listing projects they had undertaken in the railway sector, did not mention anything about the sky train project.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said he was not too sure if the project was specifically mentioned but says it could be under the railway projects that are in the pipeline.
“I’m not sure I heard it being mentioned specifically but that would be one of the projects under railway development and even under railway development a lot of work has been done and was put out there both on the railway database and at the presentation yesterday. I don’t think it will be ready this year.”
Kwaku Ofori Asiamah during his 2021 vetting
During his appearance before the Appointments Committee of Parliament in February this year, the Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, said that the processes for the construction of the Sky Train project were still ongoing.
He explained that they were working with the Railways Ministry to engage various prospective developers who have expressed interest in the project.
“For the proposal that we have received, we have sent it to the Attorney General for the department to look at it and advise us on how we should engage them.
“So yes, there are prospective developers who are waiting for us but we must be sure that we are on the side of law first. So that is where we are now,” he said.
He however blamed the novel Coronavirus for the delays in the process.