By Stephen Odoi-Larbi

The Vice President, John Dramani Mahama, on Thursday, advocated private sector investment in mass transit services to help solve the ever-increasing demand of such services in the urban and rural areas of the country.

“The private sector can also invest in mass transit. It doesn’t mean that private sector owners are meant for only Yutong buses that transit the highways; they can own mass transit enterprises that provide services in urban and rural sectors. And so, I urge the Ghanaian private sector to take this challenge up,” noted the former Member of Parliament for Bole-Bamboi.

Mr. Mahama made this remark whilst addressing his guests at the commissioning of 100 Ashok-Leyland buses to beef up the services of the Metro Mass Transit (MMT) Limited in Accra.

The delivery of the buses brings to completion the 150 fleet of buses bought from TATA Africa Holding and other partners at a cost of US$11,000,000.  With these purchases, the MMT can boast of a 1,000 fleet of buses at its disposal, with 800-900 buses currently plying the various routes of the country.

In late February, the MMT took delivery of 50 brand new TATA buses to augment its fleet of buses nationwide, with a promise of taking delivery of an additional 100 buses in April.

According to the Vice President, the provision of mass transit services in the past by a few individuals was helping the nation’s transport sector a lot, and wants it to be reintroduced, hence, the immediate call on the private sector to bring more competition into the system.

He said the achievement of the MMT over the past three years clearly “defeats the argument that State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) were not capable of doing business – competing and surviving.”

The ownership of MMT is interspersed, with the government having a 40 percent stake, while the remaining 60 percent is owned by other institutional stakeholders who have a link with the state.

Commenting on the strides of the company, Mr. Maxwell Awuku, General Manager of MMT, said the transport service provider, in 2011, provided services to 36,502 passengers across the country, with 12.3 million school children also benefitting from its benevolence.

He said the introduction of its services at the former Orion Cinema had brought great improvement in the company’s service delivery in the city, and assured the nation that the MMT would continue to adopt prudent management systems for the efficient running of the company.

The Board Chairman of the company, Alhaji Asoma Banda, commenting on the event, called on the government to allow MMT manage the assets of the ailing State Transport Company (STC), while ensuring that the liability of the company was dealt with by the appropriate state institution.

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