The National Women’s Organiser of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr Hanna Louisa Bissiw has kicked against the decision of the Akufo-Addo government to hand over the Komenda Sugar Factory to a private investor.
Speaking on Inside Politics on Radio XYZ Monday afternoon, the former Deputy Minister of Agric described the move as evil and total ripp off and stressed that it is not in the interest of the country, particularly the inhabitants of the Central Region who are supposed to directly benefit from the $35 million facility revamped by the Mahama administration.
Earlier this month, Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kwadwo kyerematen told Parliament plans of handing over the factory to a new strategic investor by the end of April.
He announced that government had conducted a technical audit into what caused the shutdown of the factory months after it was opened for operations.
“The Ministry in an effort to put the factory in production decided to initiate a new process in consultation with the transaction advisers to attract another strategic investor to acquire the assets of the Komenda Sugar Factory. I envisage that the final decision in respect with this matter will be taken by end of April,” Mr Kyerematen explained.
The factory was built in 2016 with a capacity to crush 1,250 tonnes of sugarcane per day. It was expected to reduce the importation of sugar estimated at 375,000 tonnes into the country.
It remained shut few months after it was inaugurated. The government has linked its shutdown to financial and technical challenges.
According to the government an audit report on the factory shows it has devalued to $12 million.
Contribute To Pay Akufo-Addo
But a visibly worried Hanna Bissiw wondered why the government whose campaign was on the back of industrialisation would turn around to “auction” the important state facility in the name of revamping it.
She therefore appealed to Ghanaians especially residents of the Central Region to contribute some monies and give it to the government in order to prevent the sale of the factory.
Dr Bissiw would not mind leading a campaign to raise $12 million for the government to stop the sale of the factory.
“I am appealing to my people in the Central Region to contribute to raise money for Akufo-Addo and his government so they don’t sell the factory,” Dr Bissiw said.
Meanwhile the Member of Parliament for Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirem Constituency, Mr Samuel Atta Mills, has expressed anger over the devaluation of the $35-million Sugar Factory to $12 million.
Hon Sam Atta Mills
The brother of late President John Evans Atta Mills does not understand why value off the factory could reduce drastically within a year after the Mahama administration took an EXIM Bank credit facility to invest into the factory.
Mr Mills has charged the Auditor-General and the Special Prosecutor’s office to investigate the matter.
“We cannot sit down for these things to happen. If somebody was to steal two goats and a chicken, we all know how many years this person will get [in jail], but I am basing my conclusion on this: that if it is true that it has been valued at $12 million, we need to be very worried in this country,” he said last week.
Meanwhile, former president John Mahama, under whose tenure the plant was revamped has described the decision to hand over the factory to investors as improper.
Former President John Mahama.
Speaking to journalists in the Central Region last weekend, Mr. Mahama said the planned sale was not in the interest of Ghanaians and debunked claims that his administration was planning to sell the Komenda Sugar Factory.
It is unacceptable to sell the factory; this is an investment the government made. We can get the expertise and technology to make this factory work. Sugar is one of the products we import a lot…so if we produce part of that sugar here, then it reduces the foreign exchange we have to take outside to import sugar. I will urge the government to follow the path that we took,” he said.
But the Trades Union Congress (TUC) which used to take strong positions on government decisions relating to businesses in the past and has remained quiet on the matter has been asked to stop sitting on the fence and act immediately to stop the sale of the Komenda Sugar Factory.
Governance Expert Frederick Agyarko Oduro who made the call believes its about time pressure comes to bear on government to act in the interest of the tax payer and not their cronies and interested parties for political expediency.
Mr. Agyarko Oduro said Ghanaians must not be so gullible to allow the destiny of the country to be destroyed.
He said civil society organizations must also speak out and show interest in Governance accountability to prevent politicians from taking the country for granted.
Meanwhile, the Paramount chief of Komenda Trditional area, Nana Kojo Kru – a board member of the factory also says he has no knowledge about any intended sale of the factory.
A former Director of Export, at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Gerald Nyarko Mensah is also urging government to make the Komenda Sugar Factory part of its One District One Factory programme because of the prominence of the factory in the area.