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General News of Friday, 3 June 2016

Source: Class FM

Sugar factory not for propaganda – Quansah


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Former Central Regional Minister Aquinas Tawiah Quansah has justified government’s decision to inaugurate the Komenda Sugar Factory despite the unavailability of raw materials for production.

The Ranking Member on the Trade and Industry Committee of Parliament, Professor George Gyan Baffour, addressing a press conference on behalf of Minority MPs Thursday May 2 raised some concerns about the revamped sugar factory. The minority said the opening of the factory was purely for “political expediency”, since there are many challenges to be surmounted before the plant could be fully functional.

But in an exclusive interview with Class News’ parliamentary correspondent Ekow Annan, Mr Quansah said the factory was not opened for propaganda purposes.

“I don’t understand what they mean by propaganda purposes. Who in his right sense will spend $36million for propaganda purposes? If it is propaganda, we can use one million to do proper propaganda than spending $36million,” he stated.

“What is propaganda? Sometimes we make some mistakes in this country. You, when you came to power, promised the people of Komenda that you were coming to revamp the sugar factory. You told them every year you were going to revamp it. Where were they going to put it? Were they going to put it at Asamankese? It is the same Komenda they wanted to put it. Now, they are claiming it is [too close] to the sea.

“The first one that was built was even closer than where the new one is… It was built way back in the ’60s. It was there until people started cutting them for scrap. So, at least, we should be truthful, we don’t have to play politics with everything. If you call this propaganda, the factory is sitting down there and you call it propaganda, what is propaganda?”

The Mfantseman West legislator denied that government had re-opened the factory for votes. “President Mahama won over 60 per cent of the votes in KEEA. He doesn’t need the sugar factory to get more votes. Go and check your records. The fact that they had an MP there is because the vote was divided. One NDC person went independent, got almost 13,000, the candidate got 12,000 and you got about 16,000 and you won. Put the 12,000 and the 13,000 together. I am shocked my brother from that area will even add to the chorus. You should be happy that, at least, people from your area are going to get employment, commend the government and tell them that when your government comes you want to do or put an addition to it, but don’t bastardise it.

Mr Quansah also denied the factory was shutting down for six months. He noted that the shutdown was to test run the factory.

“This factory is a new factory. What you do is, when you build a new factory, you test run the factory after commissioning. When you test run the factory, you get to a point that you will need to tighten this, loosen that, change this tile, do it this way...it is just a lay-by period, it is not shutting down,” he explained.

“…It is six months because you are just looking at when is the major sugarcane season. … We are not in the major sugarcane season, so let us find small sugarcane, test-run it, and make sure the factory is really ready to take off full production when we enter into the season and the sugarcane season is in October. So, until October, we [would] have test-run the machine, we know we needed to loosen here and tighten there”.

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