Mr Joe Ghartey, the Minister of Railways Development, says Ghana and Burkina Faso are within schedule to select a suitable private investor to commence the construction of Ghana-Burkina Railway Interconnectivity Project by the first quarter of 2020.
So far, four out of 12 firms that met the minimum evaluation criteria submitted their Request for Qualification (RfQ) documents for consideration at the close of submission of applications on May 6.
The four shortlisted companies included; China Railway Construction Consortium, African Global Development, Frontline Consortium and China Railway Number 10 Consortium.
Speaking at the opening session for the Request for Qualification (RfQ) Stage, in Accra, on Monday, Mr Ghartey said in selecting a private investor to undertake the project, the paramount interest of the two nations would never be compromised.
Mr Ghartey said the railway interconnectivity project was one of the strategic visions of Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and President Roch Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso and would leave no stone unturned in realizing it.
The Ghana-Burkina Railway Interconnectivity Project involves the construction of more than 1,000 kilometres of rail network from the Tema Port, through Ho, Hohoe, Yendi, Tamale to Paga at the Ghana/Burkina Faso border and continued through Dakola all the way to the Burkinabe capital of Ouagadougou.
The rail network is aimed at facilitating trade and boosting socio-economic development between the two neigbouring countries, which would be mutually beneficial to their peoples.
In furtherance of the implementation of the project, the Minister said, the two countries engaged a Transaction Advisor, Messrs TEAM Engineering of Italy and Vision Consult Limited of Ghana, in November 2018, with the mandate to undertake feasibility studies along the Corridor.
The feasibility studies include; survey works and the mapping out of the right-of-way and procurement process in line with the applicable laws of the two countries for the project.
Additionally, it would engage a private investor(s) to develop the proposed railway network on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.
Consequently, a Joint Evaluation Committee was established to aid in receiving and evaluating Expression of Interest Proposals from prospective applicants.
In that regard, an advertisement was carried out in English and French languages in Ghana and Burkina Faso in May 2018, and 16 companies expressed interest in the project.
The Joint Evaluation Committee assisted by the Transaction Advisor evaluated the Expression of Interest Proposals submitted by the 16 firms and shortlisted 12 of them, which met the minimum evaluation criteria.
The Committee, therefore, recommended that the 12 firms should be subjected to competitive bidding process to select some to the next stage of the procurement process, called the Request for Qualification Stage.
In view of that, the 12 firms were issued with the RfQ documents on January 17, 2019, and asked to submit them on March 25, 2019.
However, upon request from some of the applicants, the deadline was extended to May 6, 2019 at exactly 1500 hours GMT.
Now that the Joint Evaluation Committee has received four applicants, it would conduct detailed analysis of the RfQ documents and make appropriate recommendations for the pre-qualification of the firms.
The Committee is supposed to submit its report on 8th May, 2019 and those that would be shortlisted would enter the final stage of procurement, called the Request for Proposals (RfP).
At that stage, detailed technical and financial evaluation would be undertaken by the Joint Evaluation Committee and the most technically and financially competitive Bidder would be selected as the preferred Bidder going for pre-contract negotiations.
Mr Pingrenoma Zagre, the Burkinabe Ambassador to Ghana, for his part, lauded the Joint Committee of Experts for its tremendous work over the period and believed the successful implementation of the railway network would open up trade between the two countries and the rest of the West Africa sub-region.
The leaders of the two countries agreed in May 2017 to construct a rail network to link the two neighbouring countries to facilitate trade and development.
In furtherance of the agreement, a Joint Committee of Experts comprising technocrats from both countries was established in January 2018 through a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the implementation of the project.