Business News of Sunday, 13 August 2017
A Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Robert Ahomka-Lindsey, says the government is working on plans to revamp the Komenda Sugar Factory at Komenda in the Central Region through broader stakeholder consultation.
He said it would take 18 to 24 months to reactivate the factory considering its current state.
The minister stated this last Thursday when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament to answer questions on some findings contained in the Auditor-General’s Report about the trade ministry.
He was responding to a question posed to him by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo- Abirem (KEEA), Mr Samuel Atta Mills, on the state of the factory and what steps the ministry was taking to bring it back to its feet.
Mr Ahomka-Lindsey said the sugar that was produced at the factory last year during its inauguration by the previous government was made from imported semi-processed sugar.
“What the public need to know is that, the sugar they tasted from the factory during its inauguration was not made from real sugar cane.
“The government bought semi-processed sugar for processing, so we have never put a single clean sugar cane through the factory,” he added.
Mr Ahomka-Lindsey claimed that due diligence was not followed by the previous administration in the processes, leading to the revamping of the factory.
For instance, he said, the total land area for sugar cane production at the factory was about 200 which fell below the required land capacity to produce the quantity of sugar cane required to run the factory.
“What is being done now is that we are looking at places around Winneba where there is enough land to be able to do proper work because we need between 15,000 and 18,000 acres of land to produce sugar and be sure that what we produce get to the factory,” the minister said.
Touching further on the challenges at the factory, Mr Ahomka-Lindsey said the variety of sugar cane that was produced around the Komenda area and other parts of the Central Region lacked the right sugar content required for commercial production.
“The Indian company that was brought to the Komenda area to boost sugar cane production had a variety of sugar cane that was a bit different from the local sugar cane but again, the process to get the quality of that variety was not properly done.
“Currently, 25 acres of the nursery are ready for transplanting but the problem is that when we transplant, it will be a waste because the sugar content of that variety too is not good for commercial production,” he said.
At the turn of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, officials of the ministry were asked on the state of some Jubilee markets in different parts of the country.
Responding to a question on what was being done to ensure the completion of the 13 market projects that had been abandoned by contractors, a Deputy Minister of the MLGRD, Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, said metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) had been directed to take up the responsibility for completing those projects.
“We understand that the assemblies lack the capacity to complete some of these projects, so we will take the issue to Cabinet for intervention,” he added.
Other ministries which appeared before the PAC were those of Defence, Gender Children and Social Protection and Transport.