THE Ministry of Trade and Industry has initiated processes to attract a strategic investor to acquire the assets of the Komenda Sugar Factory and manage its operations, the sector Minister, John Alan Kyetematen has said.
This, he said, formed part of government’s efforts to return the Komenda Sugar Factory to commercial production.
In collaboration with the transaction advisor, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a British based multinational professional service firm, Mr Kyetematen envisaged that the final decision in respect of attracting a new investor to venture into the company would be taken by the end of this month.
“Mr Speaker, I am pleased to announce that the bid evaluation process has been completed by the transaction advisor and a recommendation has been made for the consideration by the ministry and Cabinet,” he said.
Mr Kyetematen made this disclosure in an answer to a question asked him yesterday in Parliament by the Member of Parliament for the Komenda/Edina/Eguafo/Abrem, Samuel Atta Mills who sought to know why the company had remained shut.
According to Mr Kyerematen, upon assumption of office in 2017, a technical audit of the company to ascertain the technical and operational status of the company revealed that “a test run was never completed before the factory was inaugurated due to the unavailability of sufficient sugar cane for the test run.”
Additionally, Mr Kyeremanten said the factory upon inauguration was not in a position to produce the required white refined sugar due to the absence of the processing component units like melt clarification units, vertical crystalisers and dozing system.
“Overall, about 35 items had not been installed on commissioning although they are critical for the production of sulphurless white sugar,” he revealed to the amazement of legislators in the Majority.
On the land reserved for sugar cane cultivation to feed the company, the minister said the land was “far less” than the 6,000 acres required to supply sugar cane to run the factory at full capacity.
“There has been no out-grower scheme developed for small scale farm holders to support a nucleus plantation for the factory.
“Generally, the soil condition in the factory catchment area is not favourable and requires significant application of both organic and inorganic fertilisers to improve yields,” he said.
Asked why the ministry has not activated processes to draw-down a GH¢25 million facility, Mr Kyerematen said his outfit decided not to draw-down the facility because of the challenges the company had to overcome to return it to commercial production.
The Komenda Sugar Factory, established by Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah was shut down after his overthrow. It was however revived by the John Mahama-led National Democratic Congress government to produce sugar in order to reduce the amount of sugar Ghana imports annually.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI