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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Komenda sugar factory never produced any sugar – Audit Report

• An Audit Report by the Trade and Industry Ministry says no sugar was produced by the Komenda sugar factory

• John Mahama had indicated that he was not foolish to set up Komenda sugar factory without plans for raw materials

• The Audit Report was shared by Abdul Malik Kweku Baako

An Audit Report commissioned by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in September 2017 and dated October 10, 2017, reveals that the Komenda sugar factory in the Central Region never produced any sugar after it was reconstructed.

Excerpts of the executive summary of the technical audit report shared by Abdul Malik Kweku Baako on his Facebook timeline stated that the reconstruction of the factory which was to be completed in October 2016, was completed in March 2016 – seven months earlier than the expected date of completion.

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The report stated, after the factory was completed in March 2016, “the testing of the sugar plant was carried out and sugar was produced successfully. However, full load production, for its installed capacity could not be carried out due to inadequate supplies of sugarcane (pg.2 completion report, May 2017)…”

The report continued: “The factory has only been test-run during its commissioning. The test run did not go through the entire process to produce sulphurless white sugar as stipulated in the contract as some systems were bypassed and others were not installed.

“It took 17 days to crush the sugarcane to produce the raw sugar. This was due to a number of challenges the operators encountered during the test run. It has to be noted that, the sugar produced was not white refined sugar (at 50 ICUMSA) as required but semi-processed raw sugar having molasses (which is not edible).”

The Audit Report further stated, the total fenced area earmarked for the nursery development was 63.4 Ha (158 acres). The cropped area was 49.9 Ha and out of that, 0.5. Ha was saline. “The remaining land area is covered by the roads in the nursery. Some of the plants showed stunted growth and empty patches.”

“There was a wide variation in the height of sugarcane on the same plot. The empty spaces were not filled thus reducing the expected plant population per hectare. However, other parts of the nursery showed strong and vigorous growth. It should be noted that none of the sugarcanes in the plots can be planted as cane this year since the planting date (May-June-July) is already past.

“About 97% (48.8 Ha) of the cropped area is composed of the B41227 variety which is prevalent in the Komenda area. Investigations show that no variety selection was conducted since a period of 7-8 months was given as the duration for the nursery operation which was not enough for proper crop selection,” the report stressed.

Background

Former President John Dramani Mahama accused the Akufo-Addo led government of deliberately failing to operationalise the Komenda Sugar Factor.

The $35 million factory, built from an Indian EXIM Bank facility, has not worked since its commissioning in 2016.

The factory was revamped to revive the local production of sugar, thereby reducing the importation of the commodity.

Speaking in an interview on Cape FM in the Central Region as part of his ‘thank you’ tour on Friday, Mr Mahama said, “the Indian government offered to assist us with the project. We were to set up the factory first and later apply for a $24 million support for sugar cultivation from the Indian government. When this current government was elected, they indicated that the project was not among their priorities. Therefore, they didn’t apply for the funds.”

“I’m not that foolish to set up a factory and have no plan for the provision of raw materials. I knew what the vision was. It was to get the raw materials first, and when we start production, we would have already had a processing plant,” he added.

But in a reaction on Eagle FM in the Central Region during a two-day working visit, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said the decision his predecessor, John Dramani Mahama, took to build the Komenda Sugar factory, without first establishing a sugarcane plantation, betrays every principle of construction.

“It is like building a house, and say you are going to start from the roof before you have a foundation. How does the house get built? You are going to start from the roof when you haven’t built the foundation?” President Akufo-Addo asked.

He said, “You would think that every industrial activity would begin with, first of all, what you want to do, [and] what you want to produce. Once you identify that, then clearly, your next step has to be what are the inputs, what are the things that you need to be able to feed into your factory, to get to your outputs, and you are therefore satisfied when the inputs are there when you start your production.”

But this, he said, is not John Mahama’s way of doing things, as “he will rather build the roof. Once the roof has been built, then he will come down and then build the foundation. You know that a house built on that principle will collapse, just as Komenda collapsed.”

Read below the report shared by Kweku Baako Jnr.

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