Ghana: Building Komenda Sugar Factory Before Sugarcane Plantation Betrays Principle of Construction - - President Akufo-Addo

19 October 2021

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo responding to questions from the host of the radio

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the decision by the former Government to build the Komenda Sugar Factory without first a sugarcane plantation was ill-conceived and betrays every principle of construction.

President Akufo-Addo said the construction of the Komenda Sugar factory by his predecessor, former President Mahama is akin to "building a house, and you start from the roof before you have a foundation. How does the house get built?

According to President Akufo-Addo, any industrial activity would begin with what to produce. Once it had been identified, then "your next consideration would be the inputs -- things needed to feed into the factory, to get the required output -- and then production could begin."

But that, he said, was contrary to the former President's way of doing things, as "he would rather build the roof, and later come down to build the foundation."

"You know that a house built on that principle will collapse, just as Komenda collapsed," President Akufo-Addo quizzed.

President Akufo-Addo, in an interview on Eagle FM, at the beginning of his 2-day working visit to the Central Region, made those comments in response to the former President's criticism over the non- operationalisation of the Komenda Sugar Factory.

Former President Mahama last Friday, in an interview on Cape FM, said that "I'm not that foolish to set up a factory and have no plan for the provision of raw materials. I knew what the vision was. It was to get the raw materials first."

Reports from an October 2017 Technical Audit Team made up of academia, industry experts, and independent sugarcane consultants revealed that a test run was never completed before the Komenda Sugar Factory was commissioned in May 2016, mainly due to the unavailability of sufficient sugarcane.

In addition, the factory, on commissioning, was not in a position to produce the required refined sulphurless white sugar due to the absence of 35 parts/units, which were not fully installed before the test run, including melt clarification, vertical crystallises, molasses weighing system, bagasse compressor and a dosing system. The Effluent Treatment Plant had also not been constructed at the time of the commissioning.

President Akufo-Addo also said a preliminary assessment of the value of the factory indicated that the factory was overvalued to an amount of US$12 million. "The Report of a Forensic Audit has been submitted to EOCO, which has since then written to Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice to conduct further investigations for possible prosecution."

Towards the factory's revival, the President said a Strategic Investor, Park Agrotech Ghana Limited, had been selected for the Komenda Sugar Factory, and Cabinet had approved their recommendation.

However, negotiations between the Transaction Advisor (Price Water House) and the Strategic Investor have been unduly prolonged due to the Strategic Investor's demands and the effects of the emergence of the COVID-19 Pandemic, which restricted consultations between the investor and the Transaction Advisor.

With the delays in concluding negotiations between the Transaction Advisor and the Strategic Investor, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, after given the required notice, terminated the talks with the Strategic Investor on 1st September 2021 for their failure to fulfil the conditions precedent to the offer made to them.

The President indicated that the services of the Technical Partner with expertise in the sugar industry has been engaged to manage the technical operations of the factory. In addition, traditional authorities in Komenda and the adjoining districts have been engaged to acquire large tracts of land for sugarcane plantations.

President Akufo-Addo was expectant that the Komenda Sugar Factory would commence commercial production in the first quarter of 2022.

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