Former member and secretary to the Komenda Sugar Project Management Board, Ransford Vanni-Amoah, has criticized government for lacking the political will to operationalize the Komenda Sugar factory.
According to him, it’s “very disappointing” to witness the current state of the factory.
He revealed that the factory is very viable and considering its viability, no government that has the nation at heart should let it “sit idle” while it imports millions of dollars worth of sugar into the country.
“… Over $500 million per annum sugar importation and it affect the local economy of this country. So, I am very disappointed. I’m very passionate about the Komenda sugar factory because I know how it will help minimize the importation of sugar.
“But it seems the government of the day lacks the political will to operationalize the factory…”Ransford Vanni-Amoah
Reacting to a statement made by President Akufo-Addo, which he revealed that “the whole planning of the Komenda Sugar Factory was wrong from the get-go”, Mr Vanni-Amoah expressed his disappointment in his remarks.
He indicated that it only makes business sense to build the factory without first having the raw materials. He further explained that it’s not always “that you go into the forward integration”.
Furthermore, Mr Vanni-Amoah elaborated that when it comes to sugar production, government is supposed to engage in “backward integration”, whereby it does not grow raw materials before putting up a factory.
“Everywhere in this world, sugar factories are built before the plantation because sugarcane is a perishable crop.
“For instance, if we had grown all the sugarcanes before we had built the factory, which milling plants will mill those canes that they developed before the factory?…”Ransford Vanni-Amoah
Justifying his stance, Mr Vanni-Amoah equally noted that in 2004, and at the behest of government, former President Kufuor promised the people of Komenda that he was going to build a factory at Komenda. Owing to this, he noted that the people started going into the cultivation of sugarcane, as some went for loans to grow the crop, although nothing came of it.
Currently, he lamented that all the canes available are sold by farmers to “akpeteshie distillers” because of the non-operationalization of the factory.
“… So, under John Dramani Mahama, you have to put up a factory there, and it gives hope to the farmers that now there’s ready market.
“If they cultivate more of the crops, at least the market is ready for them… So, the President saying it started on the wrong note, it’s [wrong]…”Ransford Vanni-Amoah
On his part, member of parliament for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA), Samuel Atta Mills, described as a “disgrace”, the decision taken by the ruling NPP government, led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo to neglect the sugar factory.
He reckoned that it is all a case of “politics” – just “because they were not the ones who started it, they do not want to operationalize it”.
Moreover, he stated that it will be a bad decision made by government to process already imported sugar at its raw stage.
He revealed that it will be expensive to import raw sugar and process at Komenda.
Nonetheless, he emphasized that if it will provide jobs for the people of Komenda, Edina, Eguafo and Abrem, it’ll be “all well and good”.
“The purpose of this factory was to produce the sugar here and provide jobs. NPP people will tell you that we didn’t have raw materials that takes six months and eight months to mature, we have given them 7 years, why haven’t you produced the raw materials?… “Samuel Atta Mills