Business News of Sunday, 31 December 2017
Government intends to leave both the running of the Komenda Sugar Factory and the cultivation of sugarcane to feed the factory in the hands of private investors.
The decision is part of government’s agenda to revive the $35 million Indian Exim Bank facility that has been inactive since it was launched in May 2016.
A Deputy Trade and Industry Minister, Robert Ahomka-Lindsey, made the announcement on Friday at Cape Coast while addressing journalists at a press soiree held by the Central Regional branch of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at the party’s regional headquarters.
The soiree was for the Central Region NPP to interact with the media on challenges and successes of the party in the Region, as well as the party’s programme for 2018 and beyond.
Robert Ahomka-Lindsey revealed that six companies have so far expressed interest in the running of the factory, noting that, “We are in discussion with them, but the commitment I want to give the Central Region is that, we are doing everything possible to make sure that the Komenda Sugar Factory starts running again, and when it starts, it won’t stop running”.
Explaining the decision by government to involve private investors, the Deputy Minister said, “We don’t believe government runs factories well, so we (government) are not going to run the factory”.
The factory, when fully operational, could produce 97% of Ghana’s sugar requirement, while out grower sugarcane farmers, mostly in the Central and Western Regions, could also be gainfully employed.
Notwithstanding the Akufo Addo government’s assurances to resuscitate the dormant facility, the factory is yet to see any practical revival.
The Minister, was however not specific as to whether the private involvement will take the form of public-private partnership or a fully privately run model.
Answering a question on how the ministry could liaise with academic institutions in research for an effective running of the factory, the Deputy Minister noted that, government will assist investors to get the right sugarcane varieties as have been developed by various academic and research institutions.
He observed that, “We are aware of varieties not only from the University of Cape Coast, but also at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Ghana Atomic Energy and the University of Ghana, Legon, but we need a higher sugar content; that is why developments like that are important”.