SQUARED-OFF!

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*Akufo-Addo, Mahama row over Komenda Sugar Factory

Story:  Atta KWAKU BOADI

The two protagonists in Ghana’s political setting, President Nana Akufo-Addo and former President, John Dramani Mahama are up in serious row over the Komenda Sugar Factory, situated in the Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirem (KEEA) Constituency in the Central Region. 

Although, the two gentlemen have been touring the country for varied reasons, the partisan political undertone of their messages on their trips have not been lost on Ghanaians.

The President who is touring the Central Region to commission some completed industries under the novelty One District, One Factory (1D1F) initiative, took a swipe at the former President on the malfunctioning state of the Komenda Sugar Factory.

Before the President’s take on the Komenda Factory, the former President had sought audience with the people of Cape Coast and the KEEA to set the records straight on the current state of the Komenda Sugar factory.

The NPP had consistently made Ghanaians to believe that the malfunctioning state of the factory should be attributed to the John Mahama administration. 

The President’s comments on the Komenda Sugar Factory, did not only affirm the belief within NPP circles but also stoke further, the growing agitations between members of the NPP and the NDC over who might have contributed to the current state of the Sugar Factory.

According to the President, the factory which many NDC supporters claim had been rehabilitated and was thus operational, was not functioning when his administration took over the reign of power.

In an interview with Eagle FM in Cape Coast, the President disclosed “my energetic Minister (referring to his Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyerematen), is working to get the factory running”.

In the estimation of the President, the way and manner the Komenda Sugar factory was refurbished and still not operational, strengthens further his belief about how Mr. Mahama did his things when he was the President.  

“We are told by him (referring to the former President) that is not his way of looking at things. He will build the roof, and once the roof has been built, then he will come and then lay the foundation. You know that a house that is built this way will collapse, just as Komenda is collapsing”, the President said.

The host of the show then asked the President on the way forward for the Komenda Sugar Factory which the President’s replied thus: “First of all, it’s our inheritance. A lot of money has gone into the Komenda initiative. It is important for us; and yet nothing is happening. It was at a standstill when we came into office.”

He therefore emphasised: “The way forward is what Alan Kyerematen, the very dynamic and energetic Minister of Trade and Industry has been trying to do”. Early this year, the Trade and Industry Minister assured Parliament that government was working with a strategic Investor to get the Komenda factory operational and running before the end of the year.

It’s one promise that many indigenes of the KEEA area are yearning for it fruition before next year. Yet the two gentlemen of the land would not spare the least time in setting the records straight on how the Komenda Sugar Factory came on its knees and perhaps, which one of the two, may have contributed to the sordid state of the factory.

Earlier on Friday, October 15th, 2021, the former President took up issues with particularly, operatives of the current administration who are accusing him of building the Sugar Factory without providing for raw materials to feed the Sugar industry.

In the words of the former President, there was an arrangement in place to provide raw materials for the factory before he left office in 2017. According to Mr. Mahama, he studied economics in school to be fully aware that a factory could not be established without making raw materials available.

He explained that before he left office, the Indian government had asked for the factory to be built and later apply for funds to support the production of raw materials. Even before the President’s critique of President Mahama’s attitude towards the Komenda Sugar Factory, some functionaries of the ruling government have been accusing the former President of establishing the factory without making plans for raw materials.

However, in his interview on Cape FM, the former President disclosed: “When this government came, they said sugar wasn’t their priority and so they abandoned the $26 million the Indian government asked them (NPP government) to apply for.”

“They didn’t apply and so they left it and the factory is just there. Do you think I am a fool to build a factory and I won’t make provision for raw materials? I am not that foolish; I read economics and so I knew what the vision was”, the former President declared.

The $35 million worth factory, built with an Indian Exim Bank facility, has not worked since it was commissioned in 2016.

The factory was revamped with the Exim Bank facility to revive the production of local sugar to reduce the over reliance on foreign importation of sugar and to also offer jobs for the many unemployed in the KEEA and also parts of the Western Region. 

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