The Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu has described the Trade and Industry Ministry’s planned sale of the Komenda Sugar Factory as a rip-off.
The Tamale South legislator said the decision to sell the Indian government-financed entity defies logic and has the potential to damage the existing relationship between the two governments.
“It is a rip-off to want to sell Komenda Sugar Factory for $12 million. First of all, when was a competitive bid placed for an assessment of it? Who did the technical assessment of it?
“The Minister for Trade and Industry must answer…What he is doing is not in the public’s interest and not in the public good,” the former Minister of Trade and Industry said on news analysis program Newsfile on Saturday.
Three years since its commissioning, the $35 million factory remains defunct.
President in September 2018 disclosed that government is in the process of finding a strategic investor to revive the “debt-ridden and idle” factory.
According to him, the sale is due to serious deficiencies including the unavailability of sugarcane in sufficient quantities in the catchment area.
He also revealed that government has inadequate working capital required to make the factory functional.
Subsequently, the Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyeremanten told Parliament in April this year that, the factory will be sold to a new investor at a depreciated value of $12 million.
“They commissioned the factory in May and within two months they were already selling the factory. The evidence is clear. Those who were bidding for the factory two months after its commissioning, go and look at the figures they were quoting,” Mr Kyeremanten told participants at a town hall meeting.
But the Minister under whose tenure the financing for the factory was sourced disagrees with the planned sale.
Calling on government to halt the intended sale Mr Iddrisu said, “It will be complete fraud if it is sold for $12 million.”
The Tamale South legislator said contrary to reports that the factory cost $35 million to construct, the investment into the factory is estimated at $60 million.
According to him aside from the initial $35 million which were provided by the Indian government, the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) made some contribution to constructing the access road to the factory which was $3.5 million.
“So we are now talking of $38.5 million and not $35 million,” he said.
The Minority Leader added that, upon a realization that the factory lacked sugarcane to process into sugar, the Indian government provided an additional $24.5 million.
This was to assist government in the development of ancillary irrigation and to support the farming of sugar cane.
“Government has accessed those $24 million. So why will you go beyond $24 million plus $37 million to come down to $12 million?” he quizzed.
According to him, failure to rescind the planned sale will also undermine public trust in elected representatives especially at a time the country is spending so much to import sugar.
“We are spending $300 to $450 million every other year as a country to import sugar. All of us are crying about the depreciation of the cedi and its epileptic fall against major international currencies…We should take Ghanaian public seriously,” he said.