Ownership struggle holds back revival efforts of Ayensu Starch Company

The Ayensu Starch Company is likely to benefit from a financial package under the One District One Factory (1D1F) Programme, should government succeed in its resolve to restore the Company to state ownership.

Government says it wants to resuscitate the company to ensure that it achieves its intended purpose of job creation, reducing rural-urban migration and producing an important raw material for the food and beverage sectors and other related industries. This may however not happen till a possible legal hurdle to redeem government’s majority shares in the company has been cleared.

The Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, made this known to parliament on Friday in a response to a Parliamentary question filed by the Member of Parliament for the Awutu-Senya West constituency, George Nenyi Kojo Andah.

According to the Minister for Trade and Industry, government is seeking legal advice on the next line of action on its decision to take over the Ayensu Starch Company, after it had served notice to a care taker company which acquired majority shares in the company in 2016, but has allegedly abandoned it and defaulted in the payment of the full cost of the shares.

Alan Kyerematen informed parliament that, in August 2016, government offered 70% of its shares in the Ayensu Starch Company to a company affiliated to the famous Jospong Group of companies known as Tiberias Company Limited.

Although the owners of Tiberias accepted the offer, they only made an initial payment of $ 2,269,500 out of a total obligation of $ 4,450,000 as the purchaser, representing some 51% of the total cost of the 70% shares offered.

And according to the Minister, no further payments has be made thereafter, “The Company has failed or refused to fulfil its obligations under the Agreement and has defaulted on all other revised payments schedules. Furthermore, the company has abandoned the factory and left the workers idle and without compensation.”

The Trade and Industry Minister further informed Parliament that, the owners of Tiberias Company Limited have turned down government’s request to take over the Ayensu Starch Company, which is further deepening the woes of the company and the plight of the staff.

“The Company in a letter dated 14th January 2019 indicated its refusal to hand over possession to the Ministry although the Company has abandoned the factory, putting the plant and machinery at risk.” He indicated.

The Ayensu Starch Company (ASCO), was established in 2002 with the capacity to process over 22,000 metric tonnes of cassava starch per annum. To meet its objective, the company assisted various farmer-based organizations within its catchment area to produce cassava by providing them with resources, both financial and technical, to ensure sustainable supply of its raw material needs.

As part of its efforts to sustain its operations, the company entered into a two year off-taker agreement with Guinness Ghana Brewery Limited (GGBL) to supply 14,000 metric tonnes of industrial starch until June, 2015. Under the agreement, Guinness Ghana Limited provided the company with financial and technical support until the end of the agreement which led to the offloading of government shares.

Source: Clement Akoloh||Africanewsradio.com



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