The Government of Ghana, through the Exim Bank, has approved an amount of GH¢5,444,760.00 as a stimulus package to revive the Astek Company Limited at Nsawam, to give jobs opportunities to the youth in the area.
The capital expenditure component of the amount being GH¢2,639,760.00 has already been disbursed to the company, whilst the working capital part of GH¢2,805,000.00 was still outstanding.
Mr Alan Kyeremanten, Minister of Trade and Industry announced this when he appeared before Parliament to answer a question filed by Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh, Member of Parliament (MP) for Nsawam-Adoagyiri on government plans to revive the Astek Company Limited.
The Astek Company Limited, located in Nsawam in the Eastern Region was one of the first companies to express interest to be part of the Ministry’s Stimulus Package Programme and subsequently the One District One Factory (1D1F) initiative using its subsidiary company Nano Foods Limited.
The company applied for the EXIM Bank support which was later approved.
Mr Kyeremanten also explained that the Business promoter has ordered a 600Mt per annum pineapple processing equipment that was scheduled to arrive in January 2020 for installation.
He said the promoter had also used part of the disbursed amount to refurbish the company’s premises at Nsawam, but would require an additional amount of GH¢500,000.00 to complete the refurbishment due to cost overrun.
Mr Kyeremanten also indicated that the company had secured orders to export Canned, Sliced and Chunked pineapples to Spain, USA, and Egypt under the new brand name Nano Foods.
He said the company would also produce and supply fresh pineapple juice to the local markets.
He said the company would create a minimum of sixty (60) direct jobs and two hundred indirect jobs for residents particularly the youth of Nsawam-Adoagyiri and the surrounding communities.
In addition, the company would purchase the produce of pineapple farmers or out-growers in the community to complement supplies from the company’s nucleus farm which would enhance their incomes and improve their livelihoods.
Mr Kyeremanten further indicated that to ensure the successful operation of the company, his Ministry would continue to provide all the incentives and support services earmarked for 1D1F companies.
He said the Ministry had also assigned a consultant to work with the business promoter to enhance operational performance for the achievement of the company’s objectives.
Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh, MP for the area speaking to the media in Parliament, expressed delight about the ongoing plans to resuscitate the Astek Company to create jobs for the youth in the area.
According to him, it was very refreshing to hear such good news for the people of Nsawam and that the whole plan fitted into government’s overarching policy of One District One Factory (1D1F) initiative.
He said the revival of the company was likely to break the monopoly enjoyed by other companies in the area, by injecting competition which was expected to create better prices for pineapple farmers.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh also stated that the closure of Astek Company 15 years ago affected a lot of people, since it was the main source of employment in the area.
He pledged to follow up to ensure that all the equipment was installed and to make sure that the company became operational.
He charged the new management to take a cue from the previous administration in order not to repeat the mistakes of the past that led to the closure of the company.