Ghana’s Rail of Needless Controversy

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An online publication had recently alleged that Ghana was constructing 560km railway line for $2biliion, same cost as 156km Lagos-Ibadan rail, and asked whether it was a case of padding or over-invoicing. But the Ghanaian minister of Rail Development, Hon Joe Ghartey, in a statement faulted the online report for factual errors. He noted that the Chinese company (China Railway Construction Corporation–CRCC) had merely signed an MoU with the Ghanaian authority . The MoU is to enable CRCC undertake the feasibility study of the project so as to determine the distance, the Bill of Quantity, the cost etc., of the project. And so, the question of contract award for the project at whatever cost does not arise, “because we have not got to that point at all”.

Latest reports quote the Ghanaian ministry of cancelling the MoU altogether on account of “breach of confidentiality”.

What is more, the CRCC in Nigeria further clarified that the contract in Nigeria was awarded by the Obasanjo administration. So the Buhari administration not only inherited the project, it helped to negotiate the cost downwards, and saved Nigeria about $800 million, as it began the implementation of the awarded contract in phases. Thus the allegation of padding or over-invoicing of the project ”is as untrue as it is mischievous”.

What is however true is that the Ministry of Rail Development in Ghana is constructing 100 kilometer rail, and has obtained loan of $1 billion from Chinese Exim Bank.