‘Ghana Has No $2bn Contract with Chinese Firm Building Lagos-Ibadan Rail Line’

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Rotimi Amaechi

Olaoluwakitan Babatunde

The Ghanaian Minister of Railway Development, Joe Ghartey(MP) has confirmed that his country, Ghana, has no deal or contract with the Chinese company building the Lagos-Ibadan rail line in Nigeria.

In the past few days, the media in Nigeria was awash with stories that the Chinese company, CRCC has been contracted to construct a 560km railway line in Ghana for $2 billion (Two billion Dollars), which the stories claim, is about the same cost, the same Chinese company is using to build the156km Lagos-Ibadan rail line.

As a fall out from these stories, questions were raised as per the cost of the Nigeria railway line, with many casting aspersions on the integrity of the immediate past minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, alluding that he may have corruptly inflated the cost of the Lagos-Ibadan railway line.

 However, on Tuesday, while speaking on a Television programme, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria dismissed as fake news the story of the $2 billion contract to build a 560km Ghana railway line by the Chinese company. He challenged anyone that says otherwise to publicly provide proof of the $2 billion Ghana railway contract. According to Okhiria, “the point is that the rumour-mongers are comparing something (Lagos-Ibadan rail project) with nothing because there is no such rail contract in Ghana as it is being peddled by the mischief makers”.

In a letter to the Managing Director of the Chinese company, CRCC, Joe Ghartey, the Ghanaian minister of Railways Development, confirmed that the $2 billion Ghana rail story is fictitious.  In the letter titled, ‘Re: CRCC to Construct 560km Railway line for $2bn- same cost as the 156km Lagos-Ibadan rail’, the Ghanaian government through the Minister also cancelled the ‘non-binding’ Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) they had with the Chinese company.   

In the letter, the Minister stated, “My attention has been drawn to a media publication with the caption ‘CRCC to construct 560km railway line for $2bn-same cost as the 156km Lagos-Ibadan rail.’ I regret the said publication which contains a lot of factual inaccuracies. “The minister went on to rebut the publication and state the facts of the matter as, “the Ministry of Railways Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated 21st March, 2019 with Messrs China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC).

“Messrs CRCC expressed interest in supporting the Ministry to develop and modernize Ghana’s railway network, particularly the Trans-ECOWAS line, which runs along the coast between Aflao, on the border with Togo, and Elubo, on the border with Cote d’Ivoire.  The purpose of the MOU is for CRCC to undertake feasibility studies through the use of independent consultants.

 “CRCC has NOT submitted any Report of the feasibility studies to the Ministry of Railways Development, let alone the project cost estimate. The Ministry of Railways Development has not received any offer from CRCC for the construction of the proposed Aflao-Elubo railway line (Trans ECOWAS line).

“The Ministery of Railways Development therefore does not intend to proceed with the relationship between the two Parties as established by the non-binding MOU.”