Govenment has found a strategic investor for the Komenda Sugar Factory, Trade and Industry Minister, John Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, has announced.
Mr Kyerematen in April 2019, reported to parliament that government was in search of a strategic investor with the requisite technical and financial capacity to operationalise the sugar factory efficiently and profitably.
In an answer to a question by the Member of Parliament for Chereponi, Samuel Abdulai Jabanyite, Mr Alan Kyerematen said an investor had been settled on and that the factory was set to take off.
“Mr Speaker, I am happy to inform the House that in June 2019, Park Agrotech Ghana Limited was approved by cabinet as the preferred strategic investor for the Komenda Sugar Factory,” he told Parliament in Accra yesterday.
Park Agrotech Limited, a company incorporated and operating in Ghana in the agribusiness sector, he said, would be working with STM Projects Limited, an Indian-based company with vast experience in the management and operations of sugar mills and plantations both in India and other parts of the world.
According to Mr Kyerematen, following the approval by cabinet, the transaction advisors entered into final negotiations with the successful bidder with the view to entering into a concession agreement for the operation of the factory.
“Over the first three years of the agreement, Park Agrotech will invest US$28 million in capital expenditure and working capital, including paying an annual concession fee of US$3.3 million for a period of 15 years.
“The agreement will be effective upon completion of conditions precedent, which includes the approval of the agreement by this august House,” the Trade Minister indicated.
He said that during the final negotiations, it became necessary for action on the implementation of the project to be delayed until the finalisation of a National Sugar Policy intended to provide strategic policy framework for the implementation of the project.
“After series of extensive stakeholders’ consultations, Mr Speaker, the National Sugar Policy was finally approved by cabinet in 2019,” he revealed.
The approval of the sugar policy, he said, paved the way for the concessionaire to be formally introduced to the chiefs and elders of the Komenda Traditional Area in November last year.
“Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that the formal agreement has now been executed between Park Agrotech Limited and the Komenda Sugar Development Company Limited,” he declared.
Mr Kyerematen assured that as soon as restrictions on foreign travels arising from COVID-19 were lifted and all relevant approvals secured, the technical partners of Park Agrotech will begin a comprehensive programme of action to bring the Komenda Sugar Factory back to life.
Established in the 1960s but defunct due to technical and operational challenges, the factory was revived by the John Mahama-led administration in 2016 with a US$35 million loan facility from India and a US$1.5 million counterpart funding by the government of Ghana.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI