A former employee of the Komenda Sugar Project Management Board has described the Akufo-Addo-led government as lacking the political will to operationalise the stalled Komenda Sugar Factory, over four years after its completion.
According to Ransford Chatman Vannie-Amoah, this is so because the ruling New Patriotic Party had taken monies from sugar importers for their 2020 electioneering campaign while promising to let the Factory stand idle till Akufo-Addo’s tenure ends in 2024.
“They will continue their blame games with Ghanaians till a new government assumes office,” he said.
He further alleged that it is also “a ploy to frustrate Alan Kyerematen’s presidential ambition. Knowing very well that if the factory runs, Alan Kyerematen would take credit as a sector minister.
“Due to their internal party contest, the factory must rot away while the youth need jobs. Is it not insanity?”
He stated that following the rhetoric of the NPP since they assumed position following the 2017 elections, it is quite clear that the only stumbling block for the government to operationalize the Factory is the lack of raw material (sugar cane) to be processed yet that doesn’t seem to be forthcoming.
“Why have they failed to develop the canes since they assumed power? How many months does sugarcane take to mature and how many years have they (NPP) been in power?” he said.
Mr. Vannie-Amoah says should the Factory be operationalized it would meet the rapidly increasing demand for sugar in the country and the West African sub-region in general.
He explained, “Ghana has seen a significant rise in sugar importation since 2001. In 2013, sugar imports chalked the eighth-most valuable product and the fourth largest food import after rice, fish, and poultry.
“Ghana imported 463,000 Metric Tons of sugar in 2014 representing a 32.21% decline from 683,000 Metric Tons in 2013. There are however projections that the consumption of sugar in Ghana could rise to 872,000 Metric Tons in 2030.
“Similarly, the West Africa sub-region which is also forecast to experience rapid growth in sugar consumption also presents a potential sugar export market for Ghana.”
He added that “Currently, over US$400 million worth of sugar is imported into the country for both domestic and industrial use, and this represents about 80% of the total need of the nation per annum.
“The economy cannot afford this huge drain on its scarce foreign exchange reserve. There is an unbelievably huge market for sugar begging to be exploited. Therefore, there was the need that a sugar-producing factory be established in this country.”
He has, thus, called on the government to stop idling and operationalize the Komenda Sugar Factory especially now that the youth in the country are clamouring for jobs and better opportunities.
“If they do not have a copy of the painstaking feasibility studies conducted by the John Mahama/ NDC government, they should ask, and I will gladly provide them one to acquaint themselves,” he said.