Deputy Education Minister in charge of tertiary institutions Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has questioned comments by IMANI Ghana that government has no business doing business and that private companies should rather be allowed to undertake capital intensive projects.
IMANI had issued a statement suggesting that the Komenda Sugar factory, which is to be reconstructed, ought to have been spearheaded by the private sector and not by government
But Ablakwa said “it is time for government to come on board, we cannot ask government to abdicate projects and expect the private sector which is already struggling to raise capital to start projects of such nature”.
Speaking on Radio Gold's Alhaji Alhaji programme Mr. Ablakwa said “I disagree totally with IMANI for saying that government must not take the lead to champion the establishment of such projects”.
President John Mahama inaugurated reconstruction of the factory on Tuesday. It was constructed by the Nkrumah administration five decades ago but failed to live up to its purpose and collapsed in the 80s.
The 125-tonne capacity factory – which is expected to process some 1,250 sugarcanes regularly is projected to create about 1,300 direct jobs for industrial workers and smallholder farmers, as well as create an additional 5,000 indirect jobs on the side.
But IMANI Ghana published a statement questioning the role of government in doing business saying that government must put its house in order before venturing into profitable business.
It also stated that “its proper role is to provide opportunities for private business to flourish independent of government and create the right atmosphere with corruption free and transparent governance”.
The think tank also the $36 million joint venture between the government of Ghana and India is completely unrealistic and will lead to commissioning challenges down the line.
However Mr. Ablakwa has said president Mahama should rather be commended for ensuring that the factory comes back to life and that government must be the one that takes a lead role in ensuring that these projects which have gone redundant are revived.
He advised that instead of chastising government for doing its job people in the country must ensure that attitudes which lead to the collapse of these government properties are changed.
The country he says would have been at a better place if government properties and assets were managed properly and pleaded with the citizenry to reduce comments that seek to drag the name of government into the mud and portray president Mahama as not doing his job..