THE Minister of Local Government and Rural
Development, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, says the implementation of the Urban Transport Project (UTP) will not put private transport operators out of work as claimed by the GPRTU.
Instead, Mr Chireh said, private transporters would be the main operators of the system.
He said the government would make available, loan facilities for the private transport operators to acquire efficient buses to operate the system.
Mr Chireh stated this in Parliament yesterday when he moved the motion for the second reading of the Centre for Urban Transportation Bill.
The purpose of the Bill is to establish a centre which will serve as a centre of expertise in urban transportation and provide know-how for the conduct of research into urban transportation, provide technical assistance and knowledge on urban transport to policy makers in the country.
It forms part of the UTP which the GPRTU is kicking against its implementation because in its estimation the UTP will put them out of work.
Mr Chireh explained that the project was being implemented with a 95 million-dollar loan facility from development partners.
He said the loan facility had a time limit and that the country risked losing the facility if Parliament fails to pass the bill before May 15.
The minister said urban transportation system in the country faces numerous challenges resulting in much time being spent in traffic.
He explained that the purpose of the UTP is to standardise and modernise the system for the benefit of computers as well as an incentive for investors.
Mr Chireh said preparatory works had been carried out including learning of good practices from other countries.
He said the project would be carried out in Ashanti and Greater-Accra regions together with adjoining towns in the Central Region.
Mr Chireh said some lanes on the roads would be designated for only rapid transport buses to commute passengers.
He said the project would be implemented by the Ministries of Roads and Highways, Transport and Local Government and Rural Development which would act as the coordinating body through the Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies.
Mr Chireh said extensive consultations had gone into the preparatory work adding that the ministries involved would organise a wider consultation with all stakeholders to let them understand the project and appreciate the need for it to be implemented.
The second reading of the bill attracted massive support from the Members of Parliament who contributed to the debate. They noted that it would ease traffic and make urban transport more efficient and cost effective.
Dominic Azumah (NDC-Garu Tempani) and Chairman of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development, in presenting the committee’s report said with the growing importance of urban transportation to an emerging economy such as Ghana, a framework to regulate the sector was not only welcomed but long overdue.
Catherine Afeku (NPP-Evalue Gwira) and Edward Doe Adjaho (NDC-Avenor Ave), first Deputy Speaker in their contributions expressed the need for consultation in the implementation of the project in view of agitations by the GPRTU.