The Akufo-Addo government should stop whining about the Komenda Sugar Factory and deal with its issues, a former Deputy Trade Minister, Murtala Mohammed has stated.
Concerns about the viability of the factory have come up again after it was revealed that factory still lack raw materials to commence work, but Mr. Mohammed believes the issues being raised are insincere.
When the current New Patriotic Party government was in opposition at the time of the factory commissioning, the viability of the $35 million-factory was called into question, with claims it was simply a vote buying ploy.
The concerns have continued, with a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka Lindsay saying the variety of sugarcane planted on lands secured for sugar production at Komenda did not contain the appropriate levels of sugar content for production.
About 25 acres of this variety is ready to be transplanted but because of the sugar levels, following through would not make economic sense, according to the government.
But responding to this on Eyewitness News, Mr. Mohammed noted that a technical team did a lot of research and testing and recommended that “this particular variety had a lot of juice in it and therefore it was the most appropriate.”
“The technical team recommended that variety because the locally produced sugar cane didn’t have the quantity of juice that is needed to have the factory running effectively.”
Mr. Mohammed further questioned why the government hasn’t proposed an alternative to the variety in use, hence his claims it is being insincere.
“If you have a problem with the factory, with regards to the variety of sugar cane used and you think it is not the most appropriate, tell us which is the most appropriate… My simple advice to this government is that perhaps our good friends in the government should stop whining and fix it.”
“If they were being candid with us, they would have told us that we should have used this variety instead and then maybe, we begin to ask questions why.”
Question of $24 million loan
Mr. Mohammed intimated that some of these challenges would not be surfacing if the $24 million loan sourced by the Government of Ghana from the Exim Bank of India was being utilized.
“The factory is there and they should tell us why they haven’t gone for the $24 million loan… If they didn’t go in for the loan which was approved by Parliament, why haven’t gone in for the money? If they went in for the money, why are they not using it for the purpose that was approved by Parliament,” he questioned as he called for some clarity on the status of the loan The loan facility was to finance the development of an irrigation system and to facilitate the cultivation of sugarcane to feed the Komenda Sugar Factory. Part of the money was also to develop a sugarcane plantation and also extend support to the farmers to help produce sufficient sugarcane as raw material to feed the factory.
The Irrigation schemes are also expected to be developed under the project to serve the core farms of the Komenda Sugar Factory and adjoining communities.