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18.01.2005 Business & Finance

Abosso Glass Factory cries for help

By Chronicle
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... Ex-workers call for JAK's intervention Tarkwa, Tuesday, January 18, 2005 (Chronicle) -- The ex-workers of the Abosso Glass Factory and the people of Abosso near Tarkwa in the Wassa west district of the western region have appealed to president Kufuor to personally intervene this time round and make sure that the company starts production in his second and last term of office.

According to them, the continued closure of the company which was the first to be set up in the West African sub region by Dr. Nkrumah's government to produce bottles for our beer industry was causing more harm than good to the local economy and called on the president to intervene and expedite action on the divestiture of the company.

Speaking in an interview with The Chronicle at Tarkwa last weekend, the ex-workers in particular said they were asked to go home without any compensation paid to them after the current government had abrogated the lease agreement signed between the then NDC government and Mr. Gilchrist Olympio, the Togolese opposition leader who was then running the company under the new name, Tropical Glass Factory.

According to them, they had considered the then new government's decision appropriate because even though they were producing the bottles, the company still owed the Electricity Company of Ghana several billions of cedis.

Apart from this, the company also owed its creditors who, together with the ECG, threatened to take the company to court. All these, they continued, happened because of the bad management style of Mr. Olympio.

It was based on all these things that the ex-workers welcomed the take over decision by the government. They however told The Chronicle that they had not anticipated that after the taker over, the company would be abandoned or left to its present state with the accompanying hardships it had brought to bear on them.

The workers noted that when the then chairman of the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC), the late Mr. C.O. Nyanor visited the company sometime ago, he gave them the assurance that the government was seriously looking for a new investor to come and take over the company. Indeed, after Mr. Nyanor's statement, the workers saw that an advertisement had been placed in the dailies calling on investors who were interested in approaching the government for negotiations.

According to the ex-workers, they later heard that JACQ Industries Limited which is partly owned by a Ghanaian called Jonas Asante Appiah and his British partner, Christopher Williams applied to take over the company. An American company called BAC Company Limited also applied.

They regretted that ever since the names of these two companies came out as possible strategic investors to take over the company, nothing had been heard from either the DIC or the government. They noted that they were now traumatized because since 1998, nothing had been paid to them because of the assurance from the authorities that they would be paid all benefits when new investor took over the company.

The ex-workers however commended the government for deciding to pay the salary of the skeleton staff that is currently guarding the heavy installations at the company. The latter currently has a lot of raw materials piled up at its premises which could be used by any investor that would show interest to start production and save our beer industry from using our scarce foreign exchange to import bottles.

They 0commended president Kufuor also on his re-election as president of Ghana for the second time and hoped as a listening president, he would do all he could to expedite action on the divestiture of the company to curtail the suffering they were going through.

Chronicle has meanwhile leant that the strategic investors mentioned by the workers did not get the go ahead to run the company because they allegedly offered low prices, which the government did not accept.

A top NPP functionary who spoke to this reporter a couple of days ago has however given the assurance that the company and the Bonsa Tyre Factory would surely start production under Kufuor's second term in office.

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