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08.03.2006 Regional News

Drastic measures proposed to save SIPL from collapse

By GNA

Daboase (W/R), March 08, GNA - Some stakeholders in the Subri Industrial Plantation Limited (SIPL) at Daboase in the Western Region have proposed drastic measures that they said would eventually turn-around the fast dwindling fortunes of the company. These include the freezing of salaries and wages increment for at least three years, declaration of redundancy and payment of gratuity to those affected spread over six months.

These were contained in a resolution adopted at the end of a stakeholders' forum at Daboase on Tuesday to deliberate on the present financial crisis of the company and evolve measures to save the company from collapse.

Assembly members, a representative of the Member of Parliament for the area, the District Chief Executive, the Chief of the town and his elders, management and a member of the Board of SIPL as well as workers and Union leaders who attended the forum signed the resolution. Additionally, fuel allocation to officers who own private cars should stop forthwith except those on official duties, while external auditors made to audit the company.

The resolution said overtime and commuted allowances to officers should be frozen, and SIPL made to pay five million cedis every month to the Mpohor Wassa East District Assembly defray more than 200 million cedis owe the assembly in property rates.

It also called for the reconstitution of the SIPL Board to include representatives of the ministries of Finance and Trade and Industry and the Daboase Traditional Council.

The resolution also called on the Management of BUZZ, which has erected a mast on the premises of SIPL, to put on hold the commissioning of the project until it cleared itself with the District Assembly and the traditional authority.

Earlier, Nana Kojo Akye II, Chief of Daboase, Mr. Edward Tawiah-Amprofi, DCE, and Mr Godfred Anai, Chairman of the Senior Staff Association spoke of alleged mismanagement and lack of foresight that had over the years contributed to the poor performance of SIPL in spite of its huge resources.

Mr Tawiah-Amprofi said SIPL owe the Electricity Company of Ghana, the Internal Revenue Service, VAT and SSNIT the Banks several millions of cedis over a long period and drastic measures should be taken immediately to save the company from total collapse. He alleged that some workers were being over paid while financial malpractices exist among some officers.

Nana Akye said almost 18,000 hectares of land leased to the government in 1990 for the project was to provide employment for the people and the traditional council would not sit down unconcerned for the project to be run down.

SIPL, which began as pulp and paper industry during the first Republic, is owned by the government which had majority shares and the Ghana Commercial Bank, the Agricultural Development Bank, the National Investment Bank, the Social Security Bank and SSNIT.

It has 5,000 hectares of Gmelina plantation that would be utilised for a future pulp and paper project.

Owing to constraints this long-term object is not foreseeable and the company had been placed on divesture and investors from China, India and South Africa have expressed interest in the company. Meanwhile, the over-aged portion of the plantation is being harvested and sold as round logs or sawn timber for export but this is being hampered by lack of modern machinery and equipment says Mr Nicholas Adorsu, the Administrative Manager. 08 March 06

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