Ghana’s Minister of Railway Development, Joe Ghartey, has dismissed reports linking his country with the Chinese company building the Lagos-Ibadan rail line in Nigeria.
Ghartey said in a statement in Accra that his country has no deal or contract whatsoever with the Chinese contractors,CRCC.
He was reacting to suggestions that CRCC was contracted to construct a 560km railway line in Ghana for $2b(Two billion Dollars), which the stories claim, is about the same cost, the same Chinese company is using to build the 156km Lagos-Ibadan rail line.
Some Nigerians soon began to raise questions over the cost of the Lagos-Ibadan rail line, casting aspersions on the integrity of the immediate past minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Mr. Ghartey in a letter to the Managing Director of the Chinese company, CRCC, confirmed that the $2b 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.
He said: “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 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.”
Also speaking on the matter in a television programme, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, said the reports were fake news.
He challenged those saying otherwise to publicly provide proof of the $2b Ghana railway contract.
“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’s being peddled by the mischief makers.”