Business News of 2014-04-16

Restoration of Komenda Sugar factory by June

Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Trade and Industry, on Tuesday, announced that work on the restoration of the Komenda Sugar Factory in the Central region will commence by June this year.

He said a $35 million loan had been acquired from the Indian Government in addition to one million dollars being raised by the Ghana Government for the project.

Government, he said, was still negotiating with India for another $24 million to support sugarcane farmers to produce the raw material locally for the factory.

Mr. Iddrisu made the disclosure in Accra during a breakfast meeting with editors of the various media houses in the country to appraise them on trade and industry issues.

The Minister said another sugar factory would be established at Depale in the Northern region, where research had shown that the soil in the area is very good for sugarcane production and that several companies have expressed interest in the project.

He recounted that, in 2013, the Ministry was able to see to the passage of the revised Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act, which now empowers the GIPC to give a minimum capital requirement of GHc1 million, stating that, Ghana is now a preferred priority destination for investment.

He said the passage of the revised Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) has empowered the EDAIF to be able to give loans and credit facilities to local industries.

Mr. Iddrisu said in line with government's vision of empowering local pharmaceutical companies, EDAIF had disbursed GHc50 million to local pharmaceutical companies to help them in their expansion drive.

He said funds would soon be released for the irrigation sector to promote the production of vegetables and other horticulture crops both for the local and export market.

He said the Ministry had tasked EDAIF to identify about 1,000 to 2,000 small-scale-holder farmers to be assisted.

The Minister said government would be establishing the International Trade Commission before the close of the year, adding that, Ghana would be opening International Trade Offices in countries such as China, Japan and South Africa, to boost its trade.

He noted that the Ministry had put in place a new export strategy in order to increase the volume of export this year and beyond.

He said a committee had been put in place to ensure that Ghana becomes self-sufficient in rice production, explaining that it was only when the country attains that level, before “we can think of banning the importation of rice.”

He said this year, “EDAIF would be able to make available GHc20 million to rice farmers, but the mechanization of the farms rests on the shoulders of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.”

The Minister said three companies had expressed interest in investing in the jute factory, but they were now waiting for assurance from the Ghana Cocoa Board that their produce will be purchased by them.

He said the ban on the export of ferrous metals was to rescue the local steel industry and to assure them of regular supply of scrap metals for their production.

Mr. Iddrisu said the regulation banning the export of ferrous metal would be revised, adding that, it was not meant to punish anyone.

On the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the Minister said Ghana was awaiting the final decision of the sub-regional body, ECOWAS.

He said the EPA could be likened to a double-edged sword and that the nation stood both to gain and loose when it signs it.

He explained that Ghana in 2007 signed the EPA with the European Union, but the current one being handled by ECOWAS was far better than it.

Source: GNA
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