Business News of Friday, 15 March 2013
Source: Graphic Business
The government is to strengthen the operations of Ayensu Starch Company Ltd at Bawjiase in the Central Region through a Private Public Partnership (PPP).
The government believes forging the strategic partnership will help to improve the management of the factory and its general operations, which serve as ready market for over 2000 farmers in the Bawjiase-Kasoa area.
The move is in line with plans announced by the President, Mahama, in his State of the Nation address to use PPPs in the running of some state enterprises and execute some turn-key projects.
Already, the Ministry of Trade and Industry has placed an advertisement in the dailies requesting for a Transaction Advisor for the Ayensu Starch Factory. Checks by the Daily Graphic at the ministry indicate that the process will end with consultants reviewing the operations of Ayensu Starch Company and determining its present value.
“This will invariably create the path for the engagement of a private firm to partner government to revive and reposition the factory in its quest to produce cassava starch to feed local (multi-national) industries in Ghana,” a director at the ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Daily Graphic.
He explained that it was also the very process that would help in reviewing the management structure and value of the Ayensu Starch Factory towards the Private Public Partnership.
The Ayensu Starch Company Limited was established in 2002 as one of the priority projects by the Government of Ghana. The company was commissioned in July 2003 with the capacity to process 22,000 metric tonnes of cassava starch per annum.
According to the 2013 Budget, Ayensu Starch Company which started test production in 2011 is currently running effectively, adding that by the close of last year the factory had produced a cumulative 35,000 tonnes of cassava starch.
Coupled with a private partnership in the near future, Ayensu Starch can soar again to produce to feed companies such as Guinness Ghana and Accra Brewery Ltd, which have all started producing beer from cassava.
The government has already announced incentives for brewery companies that used a certain percentage of local raw materials in the production of their beverages.
Ayensu Starch was a pilot cassava factory that was expected to become a key contributor to the country’s export revenue and serve as a major vehicle for job creation and poverty reduction in the rural communities around its operational area.
The company was viable, producing high quality starch mainly for export. However, the company was brought to its knees due to a number of challenges. Plans were far advanced to replicate the factory in other cassava growing communities and regions across the country.
In addition to its own 1,000 acre nucleus farm, the company assisted the various farmer based cooperative organisations which produced cassava to feed the company, enabling it to meet its raw material requirements. The farmers were also part owners of the company.
The director at the Trade Ministry also disclosed that similar exercises would be extended to state enterprises such as GIHOC Distilleries to ensure that a private partner came on board to retool the operations of the company.