The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) has said construction of the 380,000 metric tonne sugar factory at Komenda in the Western Region is about 70 per cent complete and likely to come on-stream before the 24-month completion date.
“The factory is supposed to come on-stream in the third quarter of next year; but because it is moving at a much faster rate, our estimate is that it will most likely be complete by the second quarter of the year,” MOTI’s Director of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, George Kobina Fynn, informed AGI members in Accra.
The AGI had invited various ministries to come and explain to the private sector how far they have gone with implementation of various policies and projects captured in the 2014 budget statement.
George Fynn explained that government had initially planned to revive the Komeda Sugar Factory established by the Nkrumah administration; but to doing that would have cost much more so a new one was started.
The factory is being financed through a US$35million loan from the EXIM Bank of India, with the government of Ghana providing a counterpart funding of US$1.5million.
“We anticipate it is going to produce close to 380,000 metric tonnes a year of sugar. This means that it is going to reduce by more than 60per cent our import bill.
“Our view is not just to produce sugar for local consumption; the long-term view is to make Ghana a net exporter of sugar,” Fynn said.
Construction of the factory started in August 2014, and when completed it is expected to provide over 1,000 direct jobs and a further 5,000 auxiliary jobs through a related irrigation/sugar plantation project.
To ensure a sustainable supply of raw material for the factory, a US$24million irrigation/sugar plantation project is also in the works.
Government, he said, will also encourage the private sector via out-grower schemes to feed into the raw material supply, because the objective is to empower the private sector.
“The objective is to empower our communities in those areas to also see the value, by giving them an opportunity to produce something that will earn them a living,” he added.