My attention has been drawn to a statement made by the Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr. Joseph Cudjoe asserting that the Komenda Sugar Factory was a mess created by the previous government.
After watching the video, I want to state without any equivocation that the NPP Government lacks the political will to operationalise the Komenda Sugar Factory due to their unholy deal with some sugar importers.
In an interview with Ghanaweb, the minister stated that it was madness for a government to set up a factory without raw materials. He also asked the interviewer if they should stop constructing roads and use the money for the growing of sugarcane? This question indicates that the man is clueless and empty.
Has Mr. Cudjoe asked Hon. Alan Kyerematen why he sold the 125-acre nursery plantation to “akpeteshi” distillers in July, 2018? Is it not complete insanity for a factory that needs raw materials for the operation to sell the available ones to distillers?
Does “clueless” Joseph Cudjoe know that an Indian EXIM Bank facility of US$24.54 million was approved by the 6th parliament to cater for sugarcane development, irrigation, and out-grower scheme? Has his government used that money for road construction and rehabilitation?
Listening to him carefully, one would understand that all that the NPP government was supposed to do was to grow sugarcane. Why have they failed to develop the canes since they assumed power? How many months does sugarcane take to mature and how many years have they (NPP) been in power?
According to the information available to us, due to the monies taken from some sugar importers for their 2020 electioneering campaign, the Komenda Sugar Factory will remain idle till Akufo Addo ends his tenure of office. They will continue their blame games with Ghanaians till a new government assumes office.
It is also a ploy to frustrate Alan Kyerematen’s presidential ambition. Knowing very well that if the factory runs, Alan Kyerematen would take credit as a sector minister. Due to their internal party contest, the factory must rot away while the youth need jobs. Is it not insanity?
The Rationale behind the establishment of the Sugar Factory
The rationale behind the establishment of this sugar factory was to produce sugar locally to minimise importation.
The Ghana Sugar sub-sector is undeveloped with untapped resources and potentialities, therefore the Government of Ghana (GoG) planned to set up a sugar factory with 1,250 TCD (57 TCH) capacity, producing sulphurless white sugar suitable for direct consumption, along with the generation of 3.0 MW Power, of which, 2.0 MW will be used for in-house consumption and 1.0 MW will be available for export/ancillary units.
Ghana has seen a significant rise in sugar importation since 2001. In 2013, sugar imports chalked the eighth-most valuable product and the fourth largest food import after rice, fish, and poultry.
Ghana imported 463,000 Metric Tons of sugar in 2014 representing a 32.21% decline from 683,000 Metric Tons in 2013. There are however projections that the consumption of sugar in Ghana could rise to 872,000 Metric Tons in 2030.
Similarly, the West Africa sub-region which is also forecast to experience rapid growth in sugar consumption also presents a potential sugar export market for Ghana. Amidst these market potentials and existing congenial climatic and lithospheric conditions, the production of sugar remains at zero.
There is the need to operationalise the Komenda Sugar Factory and encourage private investors to set up additional sugar factories to meet the nation’s demand.
Currently, over US$400 million worth of sugar is imported into the country for both domestic and industrial use, and this represents about 80% of the total need of the nation per annum. The economy cannot afford this huge drain on its scarce foreign exchange reserve.
There is an unbelievably huge market for sugar begging to be exploited. Therefore, there was the need that a sugar-producing factory to be established in this country.
PROJECT JUSTIFICATION AND BENEFITS
The project has various advantages:
Sugarcane is a robust crop and will grow in several agro-ecological zones, hence it can benefit several communities, which have no major dependable cash crops to raise their income levels and generate employment.
It will bring desirable socio-economic benefits in terms of income, job opportunities and stem the rural-urban drift of the youth.
A high-quality sugar will be a credible import substitution product which could be patronized by:
Confectionary industries e.g. chocolate, toffee, drinks and beverages, bakeries, etc.; and
• The industry will provide by-products which will be the primary materials for secondary industries in the manufacture of various types of products.
a. The paper industry;
b. Organic fertilizer from the filter mud;
c. Livestock feed from bagasse and cane tops; and
d. Molasses for distilling, etc.
• The project is justified in terms of the additional jobs and incomes that would be generated and possibly that production would significantly replace the large imports of sugar in Ghana, which will enable the scarce hard-earned foreign exchange to be saved for more important and development-oriented projects.
• It will generate sufficient income to support the research development of the nation.
• It will support Government’s efforts to reactivate the Sugar Industry in Ghana.
• The climatic conditions; rainfall, temperature, and soil conditions in the area of operation are very conducive to sugarcane cultivation and hence the sugar industry can be developed easily.
• Industrialisation of the rural area where the plant is sited.
• Poverty alleviation and eradication in the community of operation.
• Sustainable socio-economic development and growth of the rural people.
• Optimum utilization of available resources that are presently going to waste.
If they do not have a copy of the painstaking feasibility studies conducted by the John Mahama/ NDC government, they should ask, and I will gladly provide them one to acquaint themselves.
I end by asking the “clueless, Inept, and empty” minister for Public Enterprises to desist from making such irresponsible statements to expose their government’s unholy agenda against the Komenda Sugar Factory.
Ransford Chatman Vanni-Amoah
(Former Member Secretary – Komenda Sugar Project Management Board)
16/ 07/ 21
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