We’ve not abandoned Ayensu starch factory – Management

We’ve not abandoned Ayensu starch factory – Management

Ayensu Starch Factory 620x330

Management of Tiberias Ghana Ltd have denied claims that Ayensu Starch factory has been abandoned

 

The Management of Tiberias Ghana Limited, majority shareholders of the Ayensu Starch factory has rejected claims that it has abandoned the facility.

The company in a statement said it has gone to great lengths to ensure that the plant is running after it took over the factory in 2016.

“So far, Tiberias has invested over 20 million in retooling and refurbishing the factory to improve its operations and increase yield for the ready market because of the quality of starch it produces,” the company added in a statement sighted by citinewsroom.com.

While answering questions on the Floor of Parliament last week, Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyerematen expressed dissatisfaction about the way Tiberias was managing the factory.

According to Alan Kyerematen, Tiberias, an affiliate of the Jospong group, bought 70 percent of government shares in the company in August 2016 at 4.5 million dollars with an initial amount of 2.2 million dollars.

The remaining amount, according to the Minister, has not been settled, while the factory has been abandoned with no compensation for the workers.

Alan Kyerematen said the government is seeking to legally restore its ownership of the company and place it under the one district one factory policy for job creation.

“The company has failed or refused to fulfil its obligations under the purchase agreement. In the light of these and other developments, the Ministry through the transaction advisers informed the company of its decision to take over the Ayensu Factory …The company subsequently communicated its refusal to hand over the factory to the Ministry. We are currently seeking legal advice on the next line of action to take to restore the company.”

But management of the factory disputed the Minister’s claims.

“Management would like to state respectfully, that the presentation made by the Minister [of Trade] did not give a true picture of the facts on the grounds in terms of the operations of the Ayensu Starch Factory and its current state of affairs,” the statement issued by the Communications Directorate of the company stated.

Tiberias in the statement said per the arrangement, the two partners [Tiberias and government] were to set up a Board to oversee the operations of the factory.

The company said it presented members to the Ministry but the government is yet to appoint its members.

“That notwithstanding, Tiberias has gone to great lengths to ensure that the plant is running and workers were paid their salaries from 2016 to June 2018, when government took up some of the payment without recourse to the majority shareholder.”

The company in the statement also added that upon realizing that there were major mechanical problems with the factory, after taking over, it has invested a lot of money “into re-engineering, refurbishing and, retooling of the plant to make it fully operational.”

“This process is expected to be completed by August 2019. Also, two international companies one from Denmark and the other a Dutch company based in Thailand, have been engaged to undertake thorough investigations into the frequent breakdown of the plant which has resulted in the dormant nature of the company.”

Tiberias Ghana limited further said it has acquired over 10,000 acres of land to ensure that once the mechanical problems are resolved there will be a constant supply of the raw material (cassava) to feed the factory.

It, however, lamented lack of support from the Ministry despite the government’s 30% stake in the factory.

“Support from the Ministry has however not been forthcoming as the Ministry seizes every opportunity to denigrate Tiberias and its owners with no consideration for the huge investments the company has made to restore full operations. We have always and will continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to build a viable company and contribute our quota to the development of a vibrant starch industry in Ghana,” the statement added.

Below is the full statement from the Company:

AYENSU STARCH FACTORY NOT CLOSED DOWN!

The said reportage on www.ghanaweb.com and several other news portals and papers suggested the Trade Minister said that Tiberias, a subsidiary of the Jospong Group had paid only 2.2 million dollars for the 70% shares that government sold to Tiberias and has since refused to fulfil its obligations under the sales and purchase agreement to the extent that it has abandoned the factory. The attention of the management of Tiberias Ghana Limited majority shareholders of the Ayensu Starch Factory has been drawn to news reports emanating from responses given by the Minister of Trade and Industry Mr. John Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen on questions posed on the floor of parliament to the effect that the factory has been closed down and that the ministry and for that matter government was taking legal steps to reclaim the factory.

Management would like to state respectfully, that the presentation made by the Minister did not give a true picture of the facts on the grounds in terms of the operations of the Ayensu Starch Factory and its current state of affairs.

Management, therefore, wish to make the following corrections:

1. Tiberias took over the operations of Ayensu Start Factory in 2016 through a competitive bidding process and acquired 70% with the government keeping 30% shares in the Factory.

2. Per the arrangement, the two partners are to set up a Board to oversee the operations of the Factory, for which Tiberias presented members to the Ministry and is still awaiting list of members from the government side to make the board complete.

3. That notwithstanding, Tiberias has gone to great lengths to ensure that the plant is running and workers were paid their salaries from 2016 to June 2018, when the government took up some of the payment without recourse to the majority shareholder.

4. So far, Tiberias has invested over 20 million in retooling and refurbishing the factory to improve its operations and increase yield for the ready market because of the quality of starch it produces.

5. The Ministry has also been approached and updated on several occasions on the operational challenges of the plant with a request for a stimulus package as is being done for other companies, this request was however turned down.

6. Upon realizing that there were major mechanical problems due to some fundamental mistakes at the inception of the project Tiberias has apart from paying 2.4 million dollars, invested over 20 million Ghana cedis into re-engineering, refurbishing and, retooling of the plant to make it fully operational. This process is expected to be completed by August 2019.

7.Also, two international companies one from Denmark and the other a Dutch company based in Thailand, have been engaged to undertake thorough investigations into the frequent breakdown of the plant which has resulted in the dormant nature of the company.

8. Management will in the next few weeks roll out a programme that will reach out to critical stakeholders such as out growers and customers to provide a road map to the resumption of full operations. A process that will restore confidence in the operations of the company.

9.Additionally, Tiberias has acquired over 10,000 acres of land to ensure that once the mechanical problems are resolved there will be constant supply of the raw material (cassava) to feed the factory.

10. Tiberias has since taking over the plant made a lot of overtures to government as the minority shareholder in the plant to ensure its smooth running, seeing its potential in terms of job creation for the youth, providing food and above all making Ghana the hub for quality starch production to feed the sub region.

11.Support from the Ministry has however not been forthcoming as the Ministry ceases every opportunity to denigrate Tiberias and its owners with no consideration for the huge investments the company has made to restore full operations.

12.We have always and will continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to build a viable company and contribute our quota to the development of a vibrant starch industry in Ghana.

COMMUNICATION DIRECTORATE

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