Government Needs to Partner the Private Sector for Infrastructure Development

The Minister for Railway Development, Joe Ghartey has stated that government does not have money to embark on infrastructure development and will therefore invite private sector to help. This he said, must however be backed by a robust law to manage such investment by the private sector. The minister was speaking at the 4th Jurists’ Confab organised by the Faculty of Law of the College of Humanities and Legal Studies of the University. The theme for Confab was Law, Governance and Development and was chaired by the Supervising High Court Justice, Western Region, his Lordship Justice Edward Amoako Asante. Mr. Joe Ghartey said his ministry was allocated 470m Ghana cedis in this year’s budget adding “This cannot scratch the surface, so the private sector must come in”. Mr. Ghartey mentioned that the private sector cannot come into chaos that is why he was advocating for a general investor law to protect investors, “We have to know that a law in Public Private Partnership (PPP) either in mining, petroleum or oil sector is compulsory”. The minister called for a regulator in the rail sector for example since “the operator could not act as the referee and player”. He said only 13% of the current rail network was operational, the rest have all collapsed and would require huge capital injection to revamp it hence the call for private capital and participation. Another speaker at the confab, the Dean of Law Faculty, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Dr. Lydia Apori Nkansah, who spoke on the topic Democratic Transitions in the Fourth Republic, commended the country for ensuring successful transitions since the coming into force of the 4th republican constitution. “Ghana has passed the litmus test having had a number of transfer of power from one government to the other albeit with some challenges regarding the process”, she said. The Dean said government comes with “hordes of people and leave with hordes of people” since incoming governments dismiss public servants who are agents of the constitution. “Emerging governments come with proceed on leave mantra, this is a dilemma whether other public officers are to go as well”. She asked. Dr. Apori Nkansah said dissolution of boards during transitions was arbitrary and incoming governments must adhere to the law and called for a way out to be found to this practice. Thankfully, she said, the transition law has not left us in doubt since it stipulates who should stay or leave. For instance, the law says ministers and their deputies, special aides and non-career ambassadors must leave upon the exit of the government. She called for a definite policy to guide last-minute appointments made by an existing government, since such appointments though might not be illegal but morally problematic. The Founding Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Philip Bondzi-Simpson said the annual confab is held to provide a learning -out of routine opportunity to teachers, lawyers, judges and law students to listen to authorities as they discuss topics of concern in the legal practice. The dean said the faculty was in the business of legal education and part of their duty is to undertake legal research, interact with legal fraternity and create the opportunity for people in the legal system to discuss the law and the gaps in them in Ghana. He announced that the faculty would soon provide a window of opportunity to Senior High Senior graduates to pursue law since the current admission is for post first- degree holders.