A US$24.5m Indian Exim credit facility is to be used to develop and implement a plantation and out grower scheme in a bid to provide raw material for the beleaguered Komenda Sugar Factory.
Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyerematen, told parliament on Thursday that the scheme will see the cultivation of some 14,100 acres of sugarcane to feed the plant.
The past government secured a $35-million Indian Exim Bank facility to establish the sugar factory at Komenda. But delays in the release of funds for the growing of sugarcane has turned the plant into a white elephant, producing no sugar and disappointing desperate jobseekers.
Alan Kyerematen outlined measures for revamping the factory when he appeared before parliament to answer a question from George Kweku Ricketts-Hagan (Member of Parliament for Cape Coast South) on what steps the Ministry is taking to re-start the Komenda Sugar Factory and the development of sugarcane plantations and irrigation through the out-grower scheme.
The ministry, he said, has decided to implement the following recommendations based on the export report to revive the factory.
Among the recommendations in the report includes: ensuring full compliance with the terms and conditions of the contract, with the factory plants, contractors, by ensuring that the remaining parts of the plant are fully installed and operationalised.
Others are: to negotiate and pay outstanding debts due the contractors to ensure a full takeover by government of the factory assets; to appoint a governing board of directors to provide high level strategic direction and leadership for the company pending a full decision on the share divestment options, which is currently being explored with the advice of the transaction advisors for this particular project.
Mr Kyerematen also noted that the technical report that has been prepared has given government a direction which then provides roadmap as to what needs to be done.
On the timelines as to when all these would be actualised, he said: “Certain components of the factory installation have to be completed based on the advice of technical audit that was undertaken and I am unable to give specifications as to how long that exercise would take.
The detailed project report would also give us an indication of the timeframe for the plantation development exercise to be completed,” he said.
There have been series of concerns relating to the lack of adequate and right sugar cane for the Komenda Sugar Factory to operate at its maximum capacity since it was commissioned in May last year.
With the capacity to crush 1,200 tonnes of sugarcane per day, the factory was expected to produce some 250, 000 tons of sugar per year, and reduce the country’s reliance on imports.
Ghana’s annual sugar requirement, as of 2016, was estimated at 375,000 tonnes.
By Eugene Davis l thebftonline.com l Ghana