President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that the government has intensified efforts at looking for a strategic investor to take over the Komenda Sugar Factory.
He said although the government had still not found one, he was optimistic that its efforts would not be in vain in that direction.
The President made this known when he addressed a durbar of the chiefs and people of the Komenda Traditional Area at Komenda on Friday.
After the durbar, the President paid a visit to the Komenda Sugar Factory as he began a four-day tour of the Central Region.
President Akufo Addo said there were several lapses in the feasibility, planning and construction of the factory which had led to its shutdown after inauguration.
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Specifically, President Akufo-Addo said there was inadequate access to raw materials which had made it impossible for the plant to be operational.
He assured the people that the government would work to ensure that the factory became operational as soon as practicable.
Komenda Sugar Factory
The Komenda Sugar Factory, set up to provide 7,300 direct and indirect jobs, remains shut two years after its inauguration.
Built at a cost of $35 million from an Indian Exim Bank facility, the factory was inaugurated by then President John Dramani Mahama in May 2016.
The factory was also expected to generate energy for its production activities and produce by-products such as molasses for the alcohol industry.
But many challenges, including the unreliable supply of sugar cane for continuous processing after the preliminary test run, stifled its operations, leading to its closure weeks after its inauguration.
The Komenda Sugar Factory has the capacity to crush 1,250 tonnes of sugar cane per day.
About $200 million of the taxpayers’ money is used to import sugar annually, and the new factory was expected to change the situation.
Ghana’s annual sugar requirement, as of 2016, was estimated at 375,000 tonnes.
The Managing Director (MD) of the factory, Mr Douglas Mensah, who conducted the President round the facility, said apart from the problem of raw materials, there were some structural challenges that needed to be addressed at the factory to make it fully operational
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, said the ministry would work around the clock to ensure that a competent investor took over the factory to make it operational and enable it to help absorb some of the unemployed youth in the area.
Earlier at the durbar, President Akufo-Addo reiterated the government's commitment to implement its free Senior High School (SHS) programme.
He indicated that this year, 180,000 students had access to secondary education, representing an increase of 31 per cent over last year’s admissions.
He pledged that the government would work to improve infrastructure in the communities and also spoke about significantly improving roads.
President Akufo-Addo said he would ensure that a landing bay was constructed at the Komenda Beach.
He added that the project was part of a nationwide project for selected fishing communities, including Jamestown, Keta and Elmina.
The Minister of Roads, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Atta, who spoke on road construction, said the reconstruction of the five-kilometre Komenda Junction-Komenda Road was ongoing at the cost of GH¢12.8 million, as well as the six-kilometre road at the Komenda College of Education, which was being rehabilitated at the cost of GH¢11.3 million.
He said construction work on Komenda town roads would soon commence to open up the community.