“On the face of it, the endeavour could yield positive outcomes,” said Professor George Yaw Gyan-Baffour. “However, there are challenges.”
The Member of Parliament for Wenchi Constituency in commending government’s efforts to rehabilitate the factory, said due diligence should have been taken before the commissioning last Monday.
Prof Gyan-Baffour, a Ranking Member on the Trades and Industries Committee of Parliament, was speaking on behalf of the Minority at a press briefing on Thursday, June 2 in Accra.
The $24.5 million factory was commissioned by President John Dramani Mahama in the company of Minister of Trade and Industries Ekwow Spio-Garbrah and Central Region Minister Kweku Ricketts-Hagan as well as Indian diplomats, whose government invested from the Indian EXIM Bank into the factory.
It is expected to undergo a rigorous maintenance programme, which will begin with a six-month shutdown after operating for the same period of time.
But the Minority pointed out as one of the challenges facing the project, the siting of the factory near the sea.
“The siting of the facility is yet not too far from the sea and this could lead to expensive maintenance cost on the iron and steel components of the plant due to the salty seas breeze.
“This happened to the old plant and maintenance exacted a huge toll on the profitability of the factory.”
Prof Gyan-Baffour said even conversion of hitherto multi-crop lands to sugarcane farms could pose threats to food security in the Central Region, where the factory is located.
He said the dependence on the “galamsey-polluted Pra-Offin River will challenge the survival of the factory as the mercury-poisoned waters may contaminate the end product”.
He mentioned power supply as the worst crisis the factory faces, making it necessary for extra-work to make the factory work.
“These are critical issues that need to engage the attention of government even as we strive for self sufficiency in sugar production.”