Akufo-Addo jabs Mahama on Komenda Sugar Factory

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President Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has taken a swipe at former President John Dramani Mahama, describing his decision to build the Komenda Sugar Factory without first establishing a sugarcane plantation as one that betrays every principle of construction.

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

“You would think that every industrial activity would begin with, first of all, what you want to do, 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 to be satisfied [that] when you start producing…, those inputs are there,” the President explained.

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 build the foundation. You know that a house built on that principle will collapse, just as Komenda collapsed.”

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The President said this yesterday during an interview on Cape Coast based Eagle FM at the commencement of his 2-day working visit to the Central Region, in response to comments made by the former President last Friday.

Mahama goofs

During an interview on Cape FM, former President Mahama stated: “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 factory first.”

The former President said that to justify the decision by his government not set up a single sugarcane plantation to serve as a raw material source for the factory.

Information from an October 2017 Technical Audit Team, made up of experts from the academia, industry, and independent sugarcane consultants, indicates that a test run was never completed before the Komenda Sugar Factory was commissioned in May 2016, due to the non-availability of sufficient sugarcane for the test run.

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In addition, the factory, on commissioning, was not in a position to produce the required refined sulphurless white sugar due to the absence of 35 component parts/units, which were not fully installed before the test run. The non-existing component parts included those used for melt clarification, vertical crystallizers, molasses weighing system, bagasse compressor and a dosing system. The Effluent Treatment Plant had also not been constructed at the time of the commissioning.

According to President Akufo-Addo, a preliminary assessment of the value of the factory revealed that it had been over valued to the tune of some US$12 million. The report of a forensic audit has been submitted to Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), which has since then written to Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice to conduct further investigations for possible prosecution.

Revival plan

Towards the revival of the factory, the President revealed that a strategic investor, Park Agrotech Ghana Limited, had been selected. The recommendations made by the investor has already been approved by Cabinet.

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However, negotiations between the transaction advisor (Price Water House) and the strategic investor had been unduly prolonged due to a number of demands made by the strategic investor, as well as the effects of the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic.

With the delays in concluding negotiations between the transaction advisor and the strategic investor, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, after giving the required notice, terminated the negotiations with the strategic investor on September 1, 2021 for their failure to fulfil the conditions precedent to the offer made to them.

The President indicated that the services of a technical partner with expertise in the sugar industry had been engaged to manage the technical operations of the factory. In addition, traditional authorities in Komenda and the adjoining districts have been engaged to acquire large tracts of land for sugarcane plantation.

President Akufo-Addo is expectant that the Komenda Sugar Factory will commence commercial production in the first quarter of 2022.

 

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