Concord Times (Freetown)

22 November 2012

Sierra Leone: COMPLANT Magbass Sugar Company Commences 2012/2013 Production

As the People's Republic of China continues its unflinching support to the people of Sierra Leone, one of its core investors in the country, the COMPLANT Magbass Sugar Company Monday commenced 2012/2013 production of sugar.

At a grand ceremony held at COMPLANT Magbass Sugar Company in Magbass, Tonkolili district saw an overwhelming support from employees, landowners, tradition leaders, and government officials all heaping praise for the government of China and the company for bring such a project to Sierra Leone immediately after the decade long civil war.

According to the General Manager of COMPLANT Magbass Sugar Company, Mr. Yang Cheng, after eight months of hard work by both the Chinese and Sierra Leone staff the company has finally been able to start harvest of the sugar cane for the production of sugar and rum.

"First of all, on behalf of COMPLANT Magbass Sugar Company, I would like to present my great compliment to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture,the District Officer and Paramount Chief. Meanwhile, I also want to thank all the guests present today for your care and support to my company. Secondly, on behalf of management, I want to thank our staff for the contribution you have made. Without your diligent work, we cannot start the production on time today. However I hope all of you keep moving to finish this production season successfully," Mr. Yang Cheng said.

Mr. Yang recalled that in 2003, under the request of Sierra Leone government, Chinese government recommended China National Complete Plant Import & Export Corporation (Group), abbreviated by COMPLANT, to rehabilitate the Magbass Sugar Company.

"During these 10 years, COMPLANT Magbass Sugar Company has provided a large quantity of job opportunity. In summary, we have paid local staff 18 billion Leones as salary, and over 2 billion Leones for land lease. Besides, we have paid NRA 10 billion Leones tax and earned foreign exchange of 19 million leones which more or less increased the government revenue," Mr.Yang explained.

Mr. Yang noted that with the rehabilitation of Magbass Sugar plantation the company has contributed towards the economy in some related business, such as international trade, transportation and port..

"During the 10 year, we also dedicated our profit to improve on our cooperate social responsibility. We have built school and clinic for the communities and provided school materials to the surrounding schools as well as road maintenance. At any time, as long as there are difficulties from the communities, we will try our best to provide help. In these 10 years, Chinese workers lived and work in harmony together with local people in Sierra Leone. We have trained a lot of skilled workers in the areas of agriculture, industry and management. Meanwhile, the development of this company has also promoted the cultural exchange and diffusion between China and Sierra Leone which plays an important role to enhance the friendly relationship between our two countries," he said.

He noted that though COMPLANT Magbass Sugar Complex has achieved success, there are still lost of difficulties and challenge such as the unfavorable climate, soil degeneration, and disrepair of irrigation system which has resulted to low yield of sugar cane year by year.

"Compared to last year, we estimate that the yields will continue to decline. Besides, the raw materials, spear parts and labor cost are increasing dramatically which over weigh our load. Moreover, the global sugar price is fluctuating and tends to depreciate for a long time which would also affect our profit," Mr.Yang stated.

Paramount Chief of Kholifa Rowalla chiefdom,Alhaji Masakama Kanamanka 111 commended the Chinese government and the COMPLANT Magbass Sugar Company for their continued efforts to energize the country's economy and appealed to the workers and the communities in the COMPLANT Magbass Sugar Company operational area to do everything to protect the company.

"I have advised my people to be law abiding and desist from setting fire on the sugar cane and stealing the company's equipments and call on the company to arrest anyone found in such a destructive behavior," The Paramount Chief warned.

Paramount Chief, Alhaji Masakama Kanamanka 111 lavished praised on the new general manager for his swift intervention to effect meaningful changes in the company.

Permanent Secretary, ministry of Agriculture, Edward Kargbo explained to the company officials and the communities that the government will soon come up new policies that will benefit all investors and the country. He further that the government will encourage the company and the community farmers to plant sugar cane by themselves and sell it to the company.

He advised the company to bring improved fertilizers and promised that that the government will provide a duty waver to make way for better yield and warned all that anyone found destroying or stealing from the company will face the full penalty of the law.

He advised the workers union to adhere to the labour laws of Sierra Leone and desist from irrelevant issues that will deter the progress of the company.

The ceremony was graced with praises from the landowners, workers union, traditional leaders, the police and other stakeholders who applauded the Chinese government and especially the new management which has incorporated two local staff into the administrative management for its move to create a level playing field for all.

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