As part of efforts to boost the government’s ‘One-District, One-Factory’ policy in the country and also revive the employment status of the youth in the Ga East Municipality of the Greater Accra Region, Happy Sunshine Company Limited, a tomato paste manufacturing company based at Kuntunse, is to begin operations.
Even though the company has satisfied all statutory requirements to regularize its operations including receiving approval from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the Registrar General’s Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) halted the operations of the company due to some environmental concerns.
But the chiefs and elders of Kuntunse are urging the EPA to – as a matter of urgency – allow the company to resume operations after it had rectified all the environmental concerns initially detected.
The chiefs explained that the closure is creating a lot of economic hardship for the people, especially the young ones.
Speaking at a durbar at Kuntunse as part of the efforts to integrate the community into the operations of the company, the Managing Director of Happy Sunshine Company, Mars Du, said, “The company is committed to invest in Ghana and support the government in its efforts to bridge the unemployment gap”.
It is also the vision of Happy Sunshine to boost the industrialization drive of Ghana and support the government’s 1D-1F policy.
“This is evident in the establishment of a high-tech ultra-modern manufacturing plant to produce highly nutritious and tasty tomato paste for the Ghanaian market by Happy Sunshine Company limited,” Madam Du indicated.
She said the EPA embarked on a survey in the municipality and “the evidence show overwhelming endorsement by members of the community for the factory to be sited in the Kuntunse community”.
“Out of 162 respondents who were surveyed by the EPA, 156 of the residents support the location of the factory in the community. One hundred and forty-three residents have no issues with any environmental pollution because they can attest to the efforts made by Happy Sunshine to protect the environment,” she explained.
Madam Du added: “Based on the number of persons sampled and surveyed on a myriad of issues as directed by the EPA, 96.89% of the residents within the community agree with the presence of the factory in their community and are kindly requesting the EPA to allow the company resume operations following the temporal closure of the factory owing to some environmental concerns”.
The Chief of Kuntunse, Nii Noi Nortey, urged the government and the EPA to as a matter of urgency to allow the company resume operations.
He noted that many of the young people who were employed by the company have since the closure been unemployed and this is creating a lot of economic hardship for his people.
The chief said Happy Sunshine believes in the local content law of Ghana and has therefore reserved about 70% of employment opportunities for the local people.
“It is also the medium term goal of the company to train the local people to run, manage and maintain the equipment as their Chinese counterparts transfer the technical know-how on to them.”
Nii Nortey revealed that the company has also earmarked a number corporate social responsibilities events to be undertaken for the benefit of the community.
“These include the refurbishment of dilapidated school structures, assisting the police with resources to fight crime in the community, encourage teachers and health workers to accept postings to the community by helping with the construction of bungalows among many others.”
Nii Nortey noted that the company has assured members of the Kuntunse community and the entire Ghanaian populace of their “undying commitment to ensure a safe environment and a strict adherence to the environmental laws of Ghana”.