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General News Thu, 24 May 2012

Gov’t Justifies Ada Salt Project Resuscitation

By Rowland Phillips-Addo

Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Hon. Mike Hammah has justified moves by the NDC government to turn the Songhor Salt Project into a limited liability entity and indicated that the process to that effect began late last year.

He said the company established in 1992, is currently being managed by an interim management team under his ministry which he explained, “makes it financially challenged as well as legally and technically constrained”.

He made these disclosures in an interview he granted The Al-Hajj in Accra last week.

According to the Minister, the project in its present state is incapable of attracting funding from commercial banks because it carries a high legal risk.

He told The Al-Hajj that government’s move to alter the status of the project into a limited liability company would not only revive the company but also go a long way to boost the salt industry which is vital to the petro-chemical industry.

“The project is very important to the economy, especially the petro-chemical industry because of its comparative advantage over other minerals like gold and oil as salt is renewable”, Mr. Hammah explained.

The Minister pointed out that the Ada Salt Project is estimated to have the potential of producing 1.2million tones of Salt annually adding that in its current state it is capable of delivering only 66,000 metric tons as production figures show.

According to the Minister, the shortfall in the production capacity is attributable to the fact that only 10 percent of the total land area of 5,000 hectares is currently being utilized.

Analysts who this paper contacted on the issue however, had a different story to tell in that they said with precision that with the right investment and management team, the project could produce about 4.5million metric tons annually.

“The project when brought up to its maximum production capacity will create employment for not only indigenes in the area but also for others from other communities in the country” Mr. Hammah affirmed.

He told the Al-Hajj that his ministry will soon come out with a policy document to oversee the industry and make it attractive to private sector players whose participation in the industry the government deems highly important.

Source: Al-Hajj