Punish abandonment of state property

Exactly two weeks ago today, the Ghanaian Times published a story about the abandonment of the Jubilee Park in Koforidua, the capital of the Eastern Region of the country.

That story had it that the state facility was deteriorating into complete ruins if nothing was done about it.

Then on Tuesday, this paper published a response from the New Juaben South Municipal Assembly (NJSMA), under whose jurisdiction the park falls.

 The NJSMA was going to renovate the park in two phases and that everything was ready for the first phase to be done before the end of this year, adding that the cost of the second phase would be captured in the assembly’s 2021/ 2022 budget.

Today, this paper publishes another story of abandonment, this time about a 120-kilowatt (KW) capacity gas production plant and seven-tonnes-per-day mechanised gari processing factory at Asueyi, near Techiman, in the Bono East Region, which was completed in 2017.

The facility has not been operated before and the explanation is that a technical fault was discovered in one of its burners, which was subsequently sent back to Brazil by the Brazilian contractor for replacement but has since 2017 not been returned.

The factory is currently overgrown by weeds while stray animals have found it a grazing field.

One other worrying thing is that the official documentation on the project initiated by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), under the Ghana Agriculture Sector Investment Project (GASIP) and funded by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) cannot be traced either at the Nkoranza District Assembly nor the Directorate of Agriculture at Techiman.

Meanwhile, the documents include the record of the cost of the factory and the operational manual.

The abandonment of the facility which is programmed to generate power internally for its operations has a lot of implications that must not be ignored.

One of the factors for location of industries is availability or proximity to raw materials and so the gari factory was built in the Nkoranza District for the abundance of cassava, which overruns demand.

The factory was therefore to be a huge market centre to save the farmers from post-harvest losses and associated ills like loss of income, which aggravates their already precarious situation.

This means the facility which could have been a poverty-alleviating tool has rather come to increase the stress of the farmers as their hopes of a better life are so far dashed.

As this paper has gathered, the farmers would be right to go on a peaceful demonstration to call on the government to get the factory in operation.

Where is the Brazilian contractor who sent abroad for replacement the burner at the centre of the factory’s abandonment?

The fact that the factory is not being operated does mean there could not be any wear and tear; definitely there would be some deterioration and fixing it means adding to its cost.

What are the scheduled state officials and the partner agencies doing about the matter?

Should the state pay people who come in to undermine national development rather than enhancing it?

The factory, obviously, would have created employment for some people and thereby improve their lives and as well take them off the dependency lists of some people. This is now a dream unfulfilled.

The Ghanaian Times is ready to continuously bring into the public domain such cases of abandonment of state facilities for the purposes of calling for accountability in the stewardship over state property.

However, it is more than worried over negligence on the part of state officials who look on till the worst of things happen before the state incurs extra cost to fix a problem that could have been prevented.

It should therefore be state policy to heavily punish those erring state officials by law, even if it means attaching their properties to offset part of the cost of fixing the rot.

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