The Minister for Railway Development, Joe Ghartey, has urged the Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (STCCI), to consider investing along the rail lines for development and economic growth.

He emphasized that Investors and businesses within the Western Region can also take advantage of the opportunities available explaining that as a chamber, the STCCI, can even initiate a process to develop an industrial park along the rail lines for business.

The Minister for Railway Development was speaking at a public lecture, organised by the STCCI was on the theme “Railways Revitalization and Sustainable Development: Approach and Opportunities”.

The Public Lecture, which is second in the series brought together workers of the Ghana Railway Company and Takoradi Port, members of STCCI, organizations, businesses and stakeholders in the sector.

Mr. Ghartey mentioned that the ministry is pursuing associated infrastructure development such as housing, hospitality, free zone, industrial parks, container terminal and Inland Ports among others to enhance its growth.

He pointed out that the railway sector presents lots of opportunities for industrial, social and economic growth and that since the establishment of the ministry in February 2017, it has transferred substantial amount from its budget allocation for the payment of projects procured and executed by the Ghana Railway Company Limited.

He added that the old Railway Training Institute and workshop, located at Essikado, has been upgraded into a modern teaching and learning center of excellence to enhance capacity building and skills development with the various workshops also rehabilitated to serve the railway, mining, petroleum and agricultural sectors of the country.

He said the first phase of the upgrading works has been completed to run in-house training programmes for staff of Railway and mentioned encroachment on the eastern rail line by squatters and petty traders as well as land acquisition and payment compensations as some of the challenges of the company.

He added that reforms and programmes have been taken by his ministry which are geared towards the reactivation of the sector to create more job for the people and urged stakeholders to avoid politicising issues concerning the sector, rather support the good initiatives aimed at revamping the railway.

Mr. Ghartey noted that a vibrant railway system is needed to avoid huge vehicular traffic on our road and assured the participants that there will be a huge transformation in the rail sector by the end of the year.

The chairman of the Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ato Van-Ess, indicated that the Chamber seeks to promote and serve the business interest of the people.

He said STCCI will continue to hold the public lecture annually to help discuss issues in the sector, address them and promote the sector.

The Western Regional Minister Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, commended the STCCI for the public lecture which is set to enable stakeholders to share their views, strategize and see the way forward in the sector.