THE Ayensu Starch Factory is to re-start operations next month, Mr Kweku Agyeman Manu, a Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and President’s Special Initiative, has disclosed.
Though the minister would not go into details, he said the factory was going through re-organisation and re-modelling to better position it as the viable manufacturing concern that it was set up to be.
Mr Manu was responding to concerns raised by Nana Fredua Agyemang Panbuo, the Executive Chairman of the Invest Pro Limited and Benkumhene of the Akaase Traditional Area in Kwabre, Ashanti Region, concerning the Ayensu Starch Factory at the 47th Annual General Meeting (AGM) Lectures of the Ghana Employers Association (GEA) in Accra.
He said the factory had been built with the small holder cassava farmer in mind for the supply of cassava, its major raw material. He noted, however, that this led to the factory not being able to receive raw materials on a consistent basis to feed the factory, one of the major problems that led to its closure.
Mr Manu was confident that with the new modelling of the factory and the participation of some local and foreign investors in the new deal, the future was brighter.
The lectures are meant to create a forum for dialogue between the GEA and its partners and issues discussed form part of work plans of the association in the subsequent year.
This year’s lecture was on the theme “The promotion of sustainable enterprise: The role of the social partners”.
In his address, the Minister emphasised the need for Africa to step up its efforts in competitively engaging in global trade, as the continent’s exports just accounted for 2.6 per cent of total global trade in 2004.
He pointed out that this was in a year that the volume of world trade had expanded by about nine per cent.
Mr Manu noted that there were challenges in every enterprise and said in spite of these challenges, the government had initiated many programmes and projects for the business sector, notable among them being the President’s Special Initiatives.
Nana Fredua, who was the chairman for the AGM, thought otherwise.
Likening the setting up of industries to marriage, he pointed out that “anyone at all can have a wedding but sustaining the marriage is the challenge”.
“You can create all the Presidential Initiatives you want and give them whatever name you want, but at the end of the day, it is sustaining it that matters,” he added.
Nana Fredua also suggested the nurturing of enterprises through a legal framework and the right policies.
He said the Procurement Act could criminalise the public procurement of goods for public institutions from foreign sources, as a measure to nurture enterprises and give a boost to such initiatives as the “Made in Ghana” brand or the “Friday wear”.
The Managing Director of Unique Trust Financial Services, Mr. Kofi Amoabeng, and the Secretary-General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), Mr Kwasi Adu- Amankwah, also identified the right attitudes and conducive industrial relations as key in sustaining enterprises.
Mr Amoabeng decried the foul attitudes of Ghanaians, nepotism and malfeasance in public service and noted that these corrupted programmes and projects embarked on by the government.
Mr Adu-Amankwah emphasised the government’s role in sustaining and nurturing enterprises, stressing that the paradigm of “Government has no business doing business” had to be changed.
The Managing Director of Nestle Ghana Limited, Mr Herve Duranton, in his contribution, presented Nestle as a model of economic and social sustainability.
He pointed out that at Nestle, sustainability of all productive ventures was part of the corporate strategy, while social responsibility was not just an end in itself but an integral part of the company’s economic sustainability.