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Ghanaians two weeks ago woke up to the news of the Akufo-Addo led-government’s attempt to sell off the $35million ‘game changer’ Komenda sugar factory.
After failing in well over 2 years to operationalize the factory bequeathed it and denying thousands of Ghanaians sustainable jobs, the government chose to procure the services of a valuer who has put the new factory value at a questionable $12million, $23million less the construction cost to be able to sell it off to cronies.
The governing NPP’s Member of Parliament [MP] for Sekondi area, vociferous Andrew Agyapa Mercer justified his government’s unconscionable sale on Asempa fm’s “Eko Sii Sen” program, blatantly lying in between that President Mahama started the sell-off process.
“There was never any plan; I can say emphatically as the former President under whom that factory was built that there was never any plan to sell off the factory.” President Mahama stated in setting the record straight.
Cluelessness was its biggest bane; many thought the Akufo-Addo regime would be smart or wise enough to operationalize the Komenda sugar factory and to seek to claim part of the credit as a fulfilment of 1D1F in the KEEA area. That never was.
A report last year by Joy FM conveyed the disappointment of the people, particularly jobless youths and farmers in the area who were encouraged to abandon cassava cultivation for sugar cane but couldn’t get market to supply the produce due to non-operationality of the factory.
The ‘donkomi’ style disposal of the new sugar factory evokes memories of the senseless and regrettable sale of Ghana’s priced asset, Ghana Telecom by the nation wrecking Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition.
It also reminds us of the tradition under J.A. Kufour who spent tax payers’ money to establish the Ayensu starch factory but was unable to ensure its management, leading to its collapse.
Same way the tradition and its leaders who assumed responsibility of the State after the needless 1966 coup d’état couldn’t manage many of Osagyefo’s State Enterprises, resulting in their collapse. And these are the people who claim they are competent and a first-class team. Can you imagine?
Perhaps, for our short memories, from nowhere, the Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition under Nana Akufo-Addo again surfaced in 2016 with unrealistic campaign promises including establishing a factory in each district in Ghana to offer the youths and others sustainable jobs.
They also promised to protect indigenous Ghanaian businesses and to move our economy which they tagged as ‘Guggisberg economy’ from taxation to production.
About two and half years in office, the Akufo-Addo regime has not established any new factory anywhere, except the shameful ‘siege’ of existing ones and the sad but historic supervision of the collapse of indigenous businesses including banks leading to massive job losses and deaths.
The promised transformation of the ‘Guggisberg economy’ is rather from taxation to more taxation as all manner of ridiculously high taxes and levies are imposed on workers’ income, some also on sanitation trucks, heavy duty vehicles etc under the guise that they are luxury vehicles.
Even Kwame Nkrumah’s Adomi bridge located at Atimpoku is not spared as anybody who goes near today to take a picture is charged an unimaginable Gh4.0 per shot.
The Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison only last week at the Graphic Business/Stanbic Breakfast Meeting was expressing worry that Ghana’s economy remains at the mercy of foreign investors and importers.
One would like to ask what the ‘competent and first-class team’ has been doing all this while? Because candidate Akufo-Addo in 2016 said they already knew the challenges and that all they needed was the people’s mandate to fix them.
Komenda sugar factory was/is one of the ‘babies’ of Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s unmatched vision towards industrialization vis-avis to change the current heavily-import-dependent narrative of our economy which John Mahama among many other challenges had taken up.
As of 2016, Ghana’s annual sugar requirement was estimated at 375,000 tonnes and we are having to spend averagely $200 million every year to import the product, putting our local currency [ rated as the weakest in Africa and 4th weakest globally] under intense pressure.
The product importation also succeeds in shipping jobs abroad.
The sugar factory with a capacity to crush 1,250 tonnes of sugarcane per day offers 1,300 Ghanaians direct jobs and over 5000 auxiliary jobs. It also has the capacity to generate electricity from its by-product for use.
To ensure constant supply of raw sugarcane to feed the factory, the John Mahama regime arranged a $24 million Indian Exim loan facility for the cultivation of 3,000 acres of sugarcane farms within the KEEA enclave. This is regardless of the fact that sugarcane farms litter the land spaces between Mankessim in Central region and Shama in Western region which supplied the factory during the test run in 2016.
It is on that basis that the applause must be louder for President John Mahama who worked tirelessly to change the sad narrative about our economy to meet what Osagyefo envisions.
To borrow an Akan wise saying: “Nnipa ye adea, ose ayeyi,…,”
By: Koku Mawuli Nanegbe