Rescued from Kufuor’s jailing hands by Mills’ 2008 presidential victory, over her acquisition of a number of industrial properties is said not to have been fully paid for, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings has left these properties to waste way instead of putting them into operation to generate revenue and employment.
However, after partially recovering from the trouncing she received from President John Mills, courtesy the National Democratic Congress (NDC) delegates at the Special Delegates Congress in Sunyani, Nana Konadu has found her voice again, as the once prosperous Nsawam Cannery and the CALF Cocoa Processing factory near Kpone, among others, waste away.
At the Milead Fellowship International, a forum that seeks to empower women with leadership, Nana Konadu took the Mills’ government to the cleaners, saying that Ghana is one of the most expensive countries to live in currently. “By the time you leave here, you will find that Ghana is one of the most expensive countries on this continent today, very, very, expensive. We have to find a way of knocking that down”, she said in her address to the women groups from 25 African countries that converged on Accra.
She described the Ghanaian economy as stagnating because it does not produce enough, underscoring that merely having good economic indicators did not guarantee improved standards of living.
She said that the best way to check the rising cost of living in Ghana was to produce, and that without produce, and that without production, the country was going to have serious problems.
Nana Konadu said massive production of various things in various areas would guarantee the reduction in the unemployment rate, adding that she had a “vision but that vision is to see that young people are employable and are employed because it is possible. We have to put our young people to work, and we have to train them so that, indeed, they can be put to work,” she declared
Meanwhile, the multi-million dollar Nsawam cannery located in the Eastern Region, which had a fanfare commissioning, is lying virtually idle, employing a few security men, guarding the entrance to the fruit juice factory, which once supplied the country with nicely canned fresh and nutritious pineapple drink.
Going by Konadu’s assertion at the forum, political watchers wonder whether she could only contribute her quota to the solution of Ghana’s unemployment problems by becoming the President, rather than putting her factories into production to employ the teeming NDC party supporters whom she claims visit her daily for money.
“Charity,” they say, begins at home”. Konadu’s vision to put Ghanaians to work should have been unfolding now, if she is to brighten the corner where she is, by activating production at the Nsawam Cannery and the Cocoa factory, among others. These could be a trump card for the 2016 NDC flagbearer race,” one man said.
“Private sector participation, they say, is the engine of growth of economies across the world. Konadu must stop her cheap political talks, and put to work those industrial properties she has greedily clamoured for if she really understand the dynamics of running an economy”, an observer spurted.
Nana Konadu and her December 31st Women’s Movement (DWM), under Caridem Company Limited, own properties, including the defunct Ghana National Trading Corporation (GNTC) headquarters building and others.
These properties were divested during her husband, ex-President Rawlings’ tenure as president, and according to the Kufuor regime, they were acquired without full payment of their price. “How do you categorize this kind of behaviour in terms of developing a nation? “ Caliphas Mo of Adjirnagano, a suburb of Accra, asked.
As far back as May 2007, Mrs. Rawlings’ 31st December Women’s Movement asked the Kufuor government to release 1.8 million-dollar intended for the Calf Cocoa Company Limited located at Kpone, near Tema, to enable it to start operations.
It said the money, locked up at the Ministry of Finance, was the last tranche of a 10 million-dollar loan from the China EXIM Bank to the Movement to establish the factory, adding that it was needed to start production.
Speaking at a press briefing after a media tour of the factory, Mrs. Sherry Ayittey, a Member of the Board of Directors of Caridem Company Limited and Finance and Project Coordinator for the Movement, who has since fallen out with Mrs. Rawlings, said the factory was the fruit of their efforts, to add value to cocoa before export to generate more foreign exchange.
The factory is to produce cocoa powder, cocoa butter and other cocoa products, of which 80 per cent would be exported to China and other European countries.
The Ghana News Agency (GNA) quoted Ms. Ayittey as saying that it was a pity that such a valuable asset had been left to waste since 2002, whilst the government had been preaching Golden Age of Business.
Flanked by the former first Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, the women said it was not right for the government “to play politics with such an opportunity’ that would create about 2,000 jobs for the youth and give a boost to the economy.
She said the project was designed for the development of the economy and not for their selfish interests. Mrs. Ayittey explained that the 31st December Women’s Movement, in the early 1990s, agreed to set up a cocoa processing factory with their Chinese counterparts, and applied for a loan from the EXIM Bank in China.
The loan was to be paid over a period of 15 years, she said adding that “it was a private-partnership package and not government guaranteed”. She said that Chinese Machinery, Agric and Livestock Company, had 55 per cent share and Caridem Holdings of Calf Cocoa Company, held 45 per cent. “Caridem is a limited liability company owned by the 31st December Women’s Movement. Mr. Rawlings and his wife have no shares in the factory.” She said the Chinese were the sole administrators of the company and they could not dip their hands into the company’s money. “We are only stakeholders,” she said.
The women said although they had filed a case against the Ministry of Finance at the commercial court, they also resorted to dialogue with the government through the past UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan and some members of the Commonwealth, to see reason, but “the president (Kufuor) is not ready to listen to anybody”.
Mrs. Ayittey, however, said that they were seeking private investors to continue with the project.
A tour around the factory showed that the equipment and machines for production were rusting, and officials said that they would need additional two million dollars for maintenance.
Source: The Herald
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