Residents of Komenda, in the Central Region, have made a passionate appeal to the government to put a sugar factory cited in the area to use.
The residents complain that the factory, which was opened with pomp and pageantry in 2016 is rusting away.
Metal plates that make up the heavy sugarcane-crushing machine have been covered with rust, and the observant residents predict that it will cost the government a lot of money by the time it decides to put the factory to use.
Isaac Kwaku Nketia, a resident, told Joy News’ Joojo Cobbinah that many people like himself are still unemployed, hopeful that the factory that the country has invested in could provide jobs if it was put to use.
“My wife is divorcing me because I cannot take care of my family. Every day, I walk past this factory and I get angry because if it was operating, some of us would have had jobs from the country,” he said.
He added that “It is frustrating and disappointing to see the factory rust away. It is also disturbing to see the factory not operating for two years after it reopened as if money was not used to build the factory”.
Another resident said, “at least the machines in the factory should have been painted at least every six months to prevent the rust even before the factory operates.”
However, some weeks ago President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said that the government is looking for a strategic investor to keep the idle $35 million Komenda Sugar Factory busy.
He assured residents that they will hear something good soon enough.
Information Minister-designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said the government will collaborate with the private sector to build and repair existing factories like the Komenda Sugar factory.
“The sugar factory requires a private sector partner with capitalisation that will ensure that the raw materials are regularly available to feed it,” he said.
He added that the Trades and Industry Ministry is going through the process of finding investors to get the factory working.
Meanwhile, a resident is not sure a private investor will be interested in the factor.
“We are not really sure if investors will really come. Sometimes, it is just ‘politricks’. They just trick us because we vote for them and after that, they forget about us and our problems,” the resident told Joy News.
Some residents also believe that by the time government finds an investor, a huge budget would be allocated for repairs which will cost the country more money.
Others explained that the sugarcane cultivated to feed the factory now feeds distillers of ‘apeteshie’ [a local dry gin], a situation they describe as disturbing.
While the factory remains closed, it is estimated that sugar worth $200 million is imported to feed manufacturing industries and for domestic use.