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Business News of Friday, 16 January 2004

Source: GNA

Songor Salt Project nets C48.9 billion

Accra, Jan. 16, GNA - Songor Salt Project, a salt mining factory, at Sege in the Greater Accra Region, netted 48.9 billion cedis since the government appointed an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to manage it two years ago.

The amount represents about 45,000 tonnes of salt produced per annum as against the project capacity of 600,000 tonnes per annum. The rest remained untapped due to a protracted dispute between the management of the factory and the settler communities over concessionary rights.

Mr Joseph William Biney, Chairman of the IMC announced this at the Project site in the East Dangme District on Friday during an interaction with the chiefs and other community heads.

He said 1.47 billion of the net income had been paid to the government as royalties.

The interactive session comprised a public forum over the operations of the project and a three-hour tour of the factory site to expose the elders to the ill effects of litigation and controversy surrounding salt mining industry in the area.

Mr Biney said: "Between April 2001 and December 2003, the Project paid a total sum of about 3.156 billion cedis to contract personnel who were engaged to harvest salt."

The Project improved its yield from about 44 per cent in 2001 to about 75 per cent in 2003.

The IMC Chairman, said, management had immediate plans to purchase a Salt Washing Plant by December to improve product quality to enable the Project maintain its role as a leading salt producer in Ghana. "Since taking over in April 2001, we have been able to work and replace some essential equipment required to improve production." Some of the equipment include brine pumps, a Wheel Loader, a tipper truck, a staff bus, and other operational vehicles.

The tour at the Project site that attracted the participation of Nene Abram Kabu Akuaku III, Paramount Chief and President of the Ada Traditional Council and Mr Kofi Plahar, District Chief Executive unveiled illegal mining at government acquired concessionary sites especially at areas like Lomobiawe and Ajumanikope.

The delegation was briefed about how irate groups constantly sabotaged production lines by destroying dykes, road networks and embankments.

They also visited the site of a 400 million-cedi Junior Secondary School Project being built by the factory as part of its community relations and social responsibility.

Nene Akuaku urged the IMC to work harder to expand its production capacity whilst calling on the security agencies to stop people who are operating illegally at the concessionary areas.

Mr Plahar lauded the factory for being the first manufacturing company to operate in the area and was contributing 16 per cent of the District Assembly's revenue.

He appealed to the chiefs and other opinion leaders to create conducive atmosphere to attract more investors to the area. 16 Jan. 04