Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) has signed a US$10.7million funding agreement with Central Sugar Company Limited for the establishment of a starch processing factory at Prang in the Pru district of the Brong-Ahafo Region.
The agreement is the first-ever ‘One District, One Factory’ (1D1F) project financed by a private financial institution under government’s flagship 1D1F Initiative.
Under the arrangement, UMB Bank – through the UMB PPP Incubator Centre, is providing a credit facility to the tune of US$10.7million to the Central Sugar Company Limited that will be producing starch in commercial quantities from cassava at their base in Prang, Brong Ahafo Region.
The starch processing factory, as well as the procurement of all required machinery and tools to ensure the facility is fitted with state-of-the-art production installations, will be constructed by the China National Building and Material Company (CNBM).
A local steel company, Isopanel Company Limited, has been contracted to fabricate and install all the steel structures for the factory as part of efforts to promote active local content participation.
Allan Kyeremanten, Minister for Trade and Industry said the 1D1F programme comes with incentives such as tax holidays for five years and duty free.
He said the initiative is to create jobs and help reduce rural-urban Migration
Mr. John Awuah, CEO of UMB, speaking at the signing ceremony in Accra said: “This signing ceremony is a demonstration of our bank’s commitment to fully support government’s industrialisation agenda, which includes the flagship ‘One District, One Factory’ programme”.
This initial One District, One Factory project, the bank believes, will strengthen the local economy in Prang by creating numerous jobs for the locals, mostly.
He further for called businesses seeking to partner government in the 1D1F programme to make use of the UMB PPP Incubator Centre.
“Private sector entrepreneurs should continue to engage the UMB PPP Incubator Centre, as the expert team are in fact continuously appraising business proposals to ascertain their viability,” he said.
The UMB PPP Incubator Centre is a dedicated Centre fully-equipped to offer financial and technical support to private sector entrepreneurs and businesses which have interest in government’s One District, One Factory and other public–private partnership projects.
Mr. Awuah reiterated that this is the first of such announcements by any private bank in Ghana, and it will not be the last from UMB.
“We intend to ensure the success of this starch processing project, and at an appropriate time the bank will announce many more projects under the One District, One Factory initiative,” he added.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by a number of guests: including Board and Management members from UMB; representatives from the Office of the President; Deputy Minister for Information; Ministry of Trade representative; Coordinator of the One District, One Factory Secretariat; Central Sugar Company Limited; and China National Building and Material Company (CNBM) representatives and a cross-section of the media.
The 1D1F programme
The Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government proposed the establishment of a factory in each of the 216 districts in the country as part of an aggressive industrialisation drive to change the Ghanaian economy’s structure from an import-led to an export-led one.
The 1D1F programme has at its heart the creation of jobs, opening-up various parts of the country, and improvement in the socio-economic well-being of citizens.
Speaking at the programme’s official launch at Ekumfi, Central Region, several months ago, President Akufo-Add said: “We must banish the spectre of young and able-bodied men and women who leave our rural areas for urban areas in search of non-existent jobs. Every district in our country abounds in raw materials, and it is the vision of government to create economic growth poles out of them.
“It is the only way we can deal effectively with the greatest threat to our future – widespread unemployment among our youth. The time has come to bring prosperity to all Ghanaians.”
Mr. Awuah said UMB will work closely with government to support viable projects in order to realise the president’s vision, create value for the bank’s shareholders, and improve the socio-economic well-being of citizens.