His Royal Majesty, Paramount Chief of the Akwamu Traditional Area, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, Her Royal Majesty, Akwamumanhemaa Nana Afrakoma II, Nananom and Elders of the Akwamu State, Eastern Regional Minister, Hon. Seth Kwame Acheampong, Member of Parliament for Asougyaman, Hon. Thomas Ampem Darko, Ministers of State present, Honourable Members of Parliament Present, Colleague CEO Present, District Chief Executive of Asougyaman District, distinguished invited Guest, Ladies and gentlemen, all protocols observed.

I bring you complements of the seasons from the Management and Staff of Ghana Railway Development Authority as you celebrate this year’s AKWASIDAE  KESE with theme dubbed “Rethinking Akwamu Development- Promoting Peace,Tourism and Education all in Unity”.  We pray to the Good Lord to continue to guide, protect and bring prosperity to Nananom and the good people of Akwamuman.

I will like to commend his Majesty Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III for his exemplary leadership and vision geared towards improving the livelihood of the people of Akwamu. Your dedicated and unfailing support to revamp the Railway Industry in Ghana as a whole is just one example. And the Authority appreciates your commitment and dedication during the construction of the Tema to Mpakadan Railway by creating an enabling environment to ensure that the Contractor, Afcons Infrastructure Limited of India to carry on works without any fear of intimidation or any other backlash.

The Authority also appreciate the support of the Queen mother, Nananom and elders of the Akwamuman for cooperation and support for this all-important national project. Our special thanks also go to the members of the Railway committee formed by Nanamanhene to resolve- grievances between project affected persons and the Contractor.

For the good people of Akwamuman we will like to thank you always for your sacrifice and the inconveniences you may have to endure during the construction of this 97km Railway line.

Nananom,  just to give you a briefing on the status of the Railway Sector. Currently there are 3 major projects under way in Ghana. The three projects are as follows.  The 80 kilometre Takoradi Port to Hunni Valley with a contract price in excess of 500 million euros financed by Deutsche Bank of Germany to support the haulage of Manganese at the Nsuta and as well as the Bauxite mines at Awaso and Nyinahin and to facilitate the activities of Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) whose CEO, Mr. Micheal is here with us. The second project is the double line 6 kilometre Kumasi-Adum to Kaase with a price of 48 million financed by the government of Ghana. The contract is David Walter Company Limited, an indigenous local contractor.  The last but not the least is your very  own 97 kilometre Tema to Mpakadan with facilities from the Indian Exim Bank. The Contractor as you all know is Afcons Infrastructure Company Limited of India. By the way, of the three projects mentioned above with a combined contract price in excess of One Billion, the Tema-Mpakadan project is the longest in distance. These three projects also demonstrates His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo’s commitment to revamp the defunct Railway Sector moves Ghana one step closer to industrialization.  The President therefore deserves tremendous approbation for making such a courageous move. I would also like to commend the tireless efforts of the Minister of Railway Development, Honourable John Peter Amewu to ensure the successful completion of all three projects.

The Tema- Mpakadan project is currently ninety eight percent (98%) complete and expected to be fully completed before the end of 2023. If not for the global turbulence and other unforseen circumstances, this project which commenced in July, 2018 would have been completed by July, 2023.

Some of the major components of the project which have already been completed include an Operation Control Centre (OCC) at the Tema Port, Maintenance Facility, eight (8) Railway stations at Tema Harbour, Tema industrial Area ,Ashaiman, Afienya, Shai Hills, Doryumu-Kordiabe, Kpong and Juapong.

Also completed is a nine-hundred-metre (900m) Road over Bridge (ROB) at Afienya which was recently commissioned by the President and a three hundred- metre (300) Railway Bridge over the Volta River between Senchi and Old Akrade. The magnificent Railway Bridge over the Volta River is first of its kind in the West African sub-region.

Two (2) Railheads are also being constructed as part of the project; one at the Tema Port which connects to the Cargo Terminals at the Port; and the other one at the Mpakadan Terminal which provides connectivity to the Volta Lake to facilitate the haulage of containerized cargo and other bulk commodities from the Southern sector to the Northern sector and further to our neighboring countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

This is 120km/h Railway line and will connect the Tema Port to a proposed inland Port at Mpakadan. This line is also an opportunity to attract investors to develop industrial and commercial enclave along the Railway line to enhance social- economic transformation of the community and Ghana at large.

Among other benefits to the Akwamu and its surrounding communities, it is our expectation that this railway line will open up the local economy within this traditional Area, create jobs for the youth and improve the tourism industry in your backyard.

 Nananom and elders of Akwamuman,distinguished ladies and gentlemen,   huge Infrastructure project like this is always saddled with land Acquisition issues.  However with your support and cooperation, these issues can be dealt with amicably. If nothing at all, please think about the tremendous benefits to the community to the envy of other parts of the country that may not have such benefits. So far, the lands commission and GRDA have compensated about 600 project affected persons for their lands, crops and structures from Akrade ,  Senchi, Doryumu, Apeguso to Mpakadan. The Lands Commission is yet to submit the valuation report to GRDA for additional Land acquired in these communities. We also expect that all royalties due our Chiefs will be paid in due time.

We want to assure Nananom and the good people of Akwamu that the government made adequate allocation for compensation in this project,and we will disburse the payment as soon as Lands Commission is done with their valuation.

Unfortunately, even though this project is not completed, we have recorded cases of vandalism and theft of the newly installed rail lines and infrastructure. We all agree that this is an asset of great importance to the nation and no amount of CCTV coverage or fence walls can replace the human spirit, vigilance of the eagle-eye and commitment to protect this asset. We urge our communities to own this asset and report any suspicious activities to the nearest law enforcement agency. Solidarity is what is needed to protect this great asset of ours. It’s not about NPP nor NDC but rather about motherland Ghana, which we all cherish.

Once again, on behalf of Management and Staff of the Ghana Railway Development Authority we wish everyone a peaceful and fruitful celebration of this year’s Akwasidae Kese.

As a sign of continuous support to development of Education within this state, GRDA will make to the seed donation to ODENEHO KWAFO AKOTO EDUCATIONAL FUND.