Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) has on August 28, 2018, held the groundbreaking signing ceremony for the first ever One District, One Factory project financed by a private financial institution under the government’s flagship One District, One Factory Initiative.

Under the arrangement, UMB Bank, through the UMB PPP Incubator Centre, is providing a credit facility to the tune of USD 10.7 million to the Central Sugar Company Limited that will be producing starch in commercial quantities from cassava from their base at Prang in the Pru District of the Brong-Ahafo Region.

The starch processing factory, which will be sited at Prang will be constructed by the China National Building and Material Company (CNBM) as well as the procurement of 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 has 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 which took place at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra, the CEO of UMB, Mr. John Awuah, stated that “this signing ceremony is a demonstration of our bank’s commitment to fully support the government’s industrialization 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.

The CEO of UMB also added that, the UMB 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 the government’s One District, One Factory and other public–private partnership projects.

Addressing the media, Mr. Awuah admonished private sector entrepreneurs to continue to engage the UMB PPP Incubator Centre as the expert team are, in fact, continuously appraising business proposals to ascertain their viability.

Mr. Awuah reiterated that, this is the first of such announcements by any private bank in Ghana and it shall not be the last from UMB. “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 initiate”, he stressed.

The Minister for trade and Industry, Alan K. Kyeremanteng in his address reaffirmed government’s commitment to support UMB’s 1D1F initiative across the country. Adding that, “this very significant to the country.”

He said, “I’m saying and describing this as significant for a couple of reasons. As I’m sure you are all aware, the critical development challenge confronting our nation is to create Jobs, and as a government whiles we believe that you can created jobs in different sectors of our economy….. we know from the experience of the most developed economies in the world that, it is probably through industrialization that you optimize your potential for job creation.”

“So, it is against this background that the NPP government under the leadership of H.E President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has drawn a very comprehensive and ambitious programme for industrial transformation. And I’m sure most of you know that this transformation plan is based on these Tech Dealers. One of the most significant components of this plan is the 1D1F,” the Minister indicated.

According to him, the project would help stimulate the economic activities throughout the country, particularly in the rural districts. He also said, it has the potential to increase foreign exchange and resources, because significant number of these district enterprises would target the export markets.

“But whilst we target the export markets and increase our forex resources, we are also seeking to reduce the inflation of products and commodities which we have no business importing into this country. It also has the potential to enhance skills in our country. So, which ever way you look at it, this is a very important programme for our country,” Mr. Kyeremanteng reiterated.

He however intimated that, there were 254 districts in Ghana and their commitment was that, they will support the private sector. “And I’m emphasizing this because there are people who are misinterpreting the objective of this programme. It’s government initiated but will be generated by the private sector and government is supporting the private sector to be able to establish these industries all over the country. And so, it is a partnership between government and the private sector,” the sector Minister noted.

Meanwhile, the signing ceremony was graced by Board and Management members from UMB, the Minister for Information designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, deputy Minister of trade and Industry in charge industries, Robert Ahomka Lindsay, the National Coordinator of the 1D1F, Mrs. Gifty Ohene-Konadu, Mr. William Oppong-Bio, Central Sugar Company Limited, a representative from the China National Building and Material Company (CNBM), and many others.

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