Investigations by Today has revealed that the Ayensu Starch Factory, the state-owned starch production company located in Bawjiase in the Awutu Senya West District of the Central region, is currently on the verge of collapsing.
The state-owned factory, headed by Mr. James Biitir, Today gathered, was facing numerous operational and administrative challenges and thereby making it difficult to meet demands of its customers.
Consequently, that situation was incurring losses running into millions of Ghana cedis to the factory.
The starch factory, which was established in 2004 under the erstwhile Kufuor administration under the Presidential Special Initiative (PSI) with many prospects, Today discovered, has not operated to the expectation of the people in the community.
That worrying situation, according to a deep throat source at the corridors of power, has prompted the government through the ministry of trade and industry to look for a strategic investor to partner and make the company viable.
Today’s findings further revealed that the challenges facing the company included erratic power supply, obsolete machines as well as the lack of funds to pay its debtors.
These problems, our sources said, were further compounded by the inability of the company to produce 14,000 metric tonnes of starch targeted for every fiscal year.
And when our reporter contacted the deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, via telephone on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 he confirmed that the factory was in “serious operational crisis” adding that “there is the urgent need for a partner to restructure the factory and strengthen its finances to meet its demands.”
Mr. Ricketts-Hagan, who doubles as the member of Parliament (MP) for Cape Coast South Constituency, indicated that private investors have proven over the years to be better managers for such facilities.
He was quick to add that looking for a private partner would not result in redeployment, but rather expand the factory as it is currently producing far below capacity “so more hands will be required.”
Meanwhile, the Coordinator of Ayensu Starch Factory, Mr. Biitir, was reported to have admitted that though his outfit had a contract with Guinness Ghana Limited to supply starch, it had not been able to fulfill their side of the contract because of production challenges, noting that only half of the 1,300 acres of land allocated to them has been used.
Mr. Biitir further welcomed government’s decision to look for an investor to help revive the Ayensu Starch, saying it will end all agitations by workers and enable them meet demands of their customers and put the factory on a path of success.
He also assured government and the prospective investors of their cooperation.
“We will work diligently to ensure the success of any partner who comes on board,” he added.
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