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General News of Thursday, 28 February 2008

Source: GNA

Kufuor inaugurates Factory in Techiman

Techiman (B/A), Feb. 28, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday inaugurated an 8.3 million-dollar vegetable oil processing factory at Techiman in Brong Ahafo Region. The Ghana Nuts Limited processes shea nuts and soya beans for the export market. President Kufuor pledged the Government's resolve to support and provide incentives to investors who located factories in rural communities.

This, he said, was the way to promote balanced development, modernize the rural areas and reduce rural-urban drift. The Company, the first to have taken advantage of the Free Zones enclave to establish in the Municipality, is providing direct employment to 1,150 people.

Currently, it processes 18,000 tonnes of shea nuts and 20,000 tonnes of soya beans annually for export and is also into the edible oil market with its introduction of the "Akoma Soya Bean Oil".

Besides, every year, it exports over 5,000 tonnes of groundnuts to Europe and the Far East in addition to sesame seeds and cashew nuts. President Kufuor said the Government would continue to provide the necessary infrastructure and the right environment for the private sector to thrive adding that, its vision of Golden Age of Business and the Private Sector led economic-growth policies were not mere slogans. "Indeed, all the indicators show that we have succeeded in stabilizing the economy of Ghana for its accelerated take off." This, he said, was being underpinned by vigorous investment efforts at improving energy supply; road infrastructure and a reinvigoration of rail transport to bring down the cost of haulage of goods and services to all parts of the country and beyond. President Kufuor noted that the factory was being inaugurated at a time the local market was flooded with consumable goods from other countries and urged Ghanaians to support local industries to survive the stiff competition of the global market by patronizing their products. "This is the only way we can ensure their sustainability. In this way also employment would be sustained and poverty among our people would be reduced."

He said he was happy that investors like the Ghana Nuts Limited were beginning to show the way to adding value to the country's primary commodities, especially agricultural commodities for both export and local consumption and thereby increase the country's capacity to earn foreign exchange.

President Kufuor said the situation where Ghana like many other emerging economies, for decades, was exporting cocoa, timber, gold and other agricultural produce without any value addition, limited the country's ability to generate maximum profits from the sale of these products.

"Ghana Nuts Limited is today showing us the way by investing in the processing of soya, peanuts and shea nuts into oils and their related products for both the domestic and international markets." He commended the owners and management of the company for setting the pace.

Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, encouraged farmers in the Region to take advantage of the factory by going into large-scale production of soya beans and peanuts since there was now a ready market for them. He also advised the workers to shun negative attitudes like pilfering and stealing of the factory's products and property, saying, that their continued employment was dependent on the Company's sustainability.

Mr Obed Asante, Chief Executive Officer of the Company, said their successful operation had been the result of the Government's sound macro-economic policies. The ease of restrictions on the repatriation of profits, lowering of inflation and interest rates and enhanced access to credit had been of immense benefit to them, he said. 28 Feb. 08

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