John Awuah, CEO, UMB
Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) yesterday held a groundbreaking signing ceremony for its first project under the ‘One District, One Factory’ policy at the Mövenpick Hotel in Accra.
Under the arrangement, UMB Bank, through its PPP Incubator Centre, would provide a credit facility of $10.7 million to Central Sugar Company Limited which would produce starch in commercial quantities from its base at Prang in the Pru District of the Brong-Ahafo Region.
The starch processing factory, to be sited at Prang, would be constructed by the China National Building and Material Company (CNBM), which would procure all the required machinery and tools to ensure the facility is fitted with state-of-the-art production installations.
Also, a local steel company, Isopanel Company Limited, had been contracted to fabricate and install all the steel structures for the factory as part of efforts to promote active local content participation.
Speaking at the ceremony Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UMB, John Awuah, said the signing ceremony was a demonstration of its commitment to fully supporting government’s industrialization agenda, which included the flagship ‘One District, One Factory’ programme.
“This initial 1D1F project, the bank believes, will strengthen the local economy at Prang by creating numerous jobs for the locals mostly.”
The CEO of UMB reiterated that UMB’s PPP Incubator Centre is a dedicated centre fully-equipped to offer financial and technical support to private sector entrepreneurs and businesses who have interest in government’s 1D1F as well as other public–private partnership projects.
Mr. Awuah entreated private sector entrepreneurs to continue to engage the UMB PPP Incubator Centre since the expert team was continuously appraising business proposals to ascertain their viability.
He said four others would soon be endorsed from a total of 22 projects that were currently being considered by the centre.
“We intend to ensure the success of this starch processing project and at the appropriate time, the bank will be announcing many more projects under the One District, One Factory initiative,” he added.
Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade, in a remark, called on the business community to engage government on viable projects, adding that the 1D1F initiative is government-inspired but private sector driven.
He said government intends to create more jobs for the youth in every district of the country to stem the rural urban drift and economically empower citizens.
Oppong Bio, CEO of Central Sugar Company Limited, in a speech, expressed appreciation to UMB for the support offered to his outfit, indicating that it would ensure that such resources would be effectively and efficiently utilized to realise good returns on the investment.
Present at the event were Minister-designate for Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, Robert Ahomka Lindsay, Deputy Minister of Trade, Gifty Ohene-Konadu, Administrator of the 1D1F Secretariat, officials from Central Sugar Company Limited and China National Building and Material Company (CNBM).
By Samuel Boadi