Publish Devaluation Report of Komenda Sugar Factory – Murtala Tells Gov’t
Former Deputy Minister of Trades and Industry under the Mahama government, Hon. Ibrahim Mohammed Murtala has criticized government’s decision to sell the Komenda Sugar Factory.
The Nanton legislator argued that the handing over of the factory to a new strategic investor almost 3 years after the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government commissioned the facility is a complete rip off.
He is therefore demanding from government to publicise the forensic audit report that devalued the factory at $12 million after it was built at a cost of $35million from an Indian Exim Bank facility in less than 3 years.
In an interview with Kwame Minkah, host of Ete Sen on Radio XYZ 93.1, the former minister observed the Akufo-Addo led administration was only trying to “bastardise the good works of John Mahama” for political expediency.
He said the then government had identified about 300 acres of land for the cultivation of sugar canes and had started a nursery plantation to feed the factory with sugarcane, denying claims that the factory became a white elephant after the NDC left office.
“Why the rush to selling something that is viable? Is it not shocking that government is devaluing the company to sell it to their foreign friends?” he questioned.
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.
Earlier this month, Trade 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.
But Mr Murtala believes despite the previous government leaving behind an amount of $24 million loan facility it took from the EXIM Bank which can take care of the management of factory, the ruling New Patriotic Party government wants to sell the state property to its foreign cronies.
“All the strategic investors are only foreign companies, they [the NPP] should come and deny,” he said while challenging the government to publicise the forensic report showing that the factory had been devalued.
According to him, the Trades Minister is on the path of causing financial loss to the state with the new deal.
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.
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.
By: Henryson Okrah/Myxyzonline.com/Ghana