Business News of Monday, 2 March 2015
Source: Graphic Online
The first phase of a multi-million-dollar expansion project of the ABL, a local brewery company, designed to double the company’s production capacity has been inaugurated in Accra.
The $100 million facility comprises two state-of-the-art packaging lines, an expansive warehouse with a loading bay, material storage areas and two additional power generators.
Known within ABL circles as ‘Project Everest,’ the project, which started in 2013, also has 10 beer storage vessels, two additional water storage tanks, an effluent and waste treatment plant and an energy recovery system to make the plant more energy efficient.
At a ceremony to inaugurate the project yesterday, the government again gave an assurance that the crippling power crisis would be tamed.
It comes on the backdrop of President John Dramani Mahama’s pledge during his State of the Nation Address to Parliament last Thursday that he would fix the problem seen by many as a threat to industrial growth.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, inaugurated the project on behalf of President John Dramani Mahama.
In a speech read on his behalf, the President said it was comforting that the ABL was not deterred by the power crisis and had soldiered on with its expansion plans.
“The government has always assured both the local and the international business communities that the current situation of power outages is a temporary one which will be solved shortly, even as steps are being initiated, in collaboration with both the World Bank and the United States government, to devise and execute energy sector reforms that will ensure that this unfortunate situation never arises again,” the President said.
He said beyond finding a lasting solution to the problem, the government was committed to creating an operating environment for manufacturing businesses to thrive and become competitive, not through protectionism, but rather through innovation and the use of local substitutes of imported materials.
The Chairman of the ABL board, Dr Charles Mensa, said in view of the company’s increasing reliance on local materials, including rice, maize and cassava as raw materials, apart from direct jobs, rural communities would also feel the effect of the expansion as demand for the produce from smallholder farmers would go up.
For her part, a Deputy Minister of Finance, Mrs Mona Quartey, commended the company for its outstanding show of confidence in the Ghanaian economy.
She said that was a show of resilience, adding “we would support you in anyway we can”.
The Managing Director of ABL, Mr Anthony Grendon, who gave the background to the project, said after several attempts were made to acquire a large tract of land for the project without success, the company settled on its current location, a decision that resulted in the demolition of 12 residential buildings, two offices and a warehouse.
He said apart from increasing the company’s production capacity for both beer and soft drinks to meet projected sales growth, the expansion would also position the company to work in an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient way.