President Akufo-Addo has disclosed that the decision taken by former President John Dramani Mahama, to build the Komenda Sugar factory without first establishing a sugarcane plantation, defeats the principle of construction.
According to him, the building of the factory “is like building a house”. However, one (John Mahama) decides “to start from the roof, before you have a foundation”. With this, President Akufo-Addo questioned how the “house will get built”. He further quipped whether you are going to start from the roof, “when you haven’t built the foundation?”
“You would think that every industrial activity would begin with, first of all, what you want to do, what you want to produce. Once you identify that, then clearly, your next step has to be what are the inputs, what are the things that you need to be able to feed into your factory, to get to your outputs. Therefore, to be satisfied when you start producing your production, those inputs are there”.President Akufo-Addo
Describing how the NDC Presidential aspirant would have faired, President Akufo-Addo explained that John Mahama “will rather build the roof” and once the roof has been built, he will “come down and then build the foundation”.
“You know that a house built on that principle will collapse, just as Komenda collapsed”.President Akufo-Addo
Grounded vision for Komenda factory
Former President Mahama had earlier stated that he is not “foolish to set up a factory” and have no plan for the provision of raw materials.
According to him, he knew what the “vision” for the Komenda factory was. Mr Mahama noted that it was to get the “raw materials first”, in spite of not having setup a single sugarcane plantation to serve as a raw material source for the factory.
An October 2017 Technical Audit Team, made up of experts from the academia, industry, and independent sugarcane consultants, revealed that a test run was never completed prior to the Komenda Sugar Factory being commissioned in May 2016. This, the team revealed, was due to the unavailability of sufficient sugarcane for the test run.
In addition, it indicated that the factory, on commissioning, was not in a position to produce the required refined sulphurless white sugar due to the absence of 35 component parts/units.
The team disclosed that the Effluent Treatment Plant had also not been constructed at the time of the commissioning.
President Akufo-Addo also observed that a preliminary assessment of the value of the factory had been over-valued to the tune of some US$12 million.
A report of a Forensic Audit submitted to EOCO, which was subsequently written to Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice has requested further investigations for possible prosecution.
Recovery Plan for Komenda factory
Touching on his recovery plan for the factory, President Akufo-Addo explained that a Strategic Investor, Park Agrotech Ghana Limited, had been selected as the preferred Strategic Investor for the Komenda Sugar Factory, and their recommendation, approved by Cabinet.
That notwithstanding, negotiations between the Transaction Advisor and the Strategic Investor have been prolonged due to a number of demands made by the Strategic Investor.
Following the delay, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, after giving the required notice, terminated the negotiations with the Strategic Investor on 1st September 2021 due to their failure to fulfil the conditions precedent to the offer made to them.
The President indicated that the services of the Technical Partner with expertise in the sugar industry has been engaged to manage the technical operations of the factory. Also, he explained that traditional authorities in Komenda have been engaged to acquire large tracts of land for sugarcane plantation.