Ghana Cement Spio has stabbed us in the back - Cement manufacturers

Speaking at a press conference at Tema, Dr George Dawson-Ahmoah, Chairman of CMAG said “from 2014 to date, Ghana has been witnessing the importation of cement mainly from China to compete with local manufacturers.”

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The Cement Manufacturers Association of Ghana (CMAG) has expressed anger at what it calls a decision by Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Minister of Trade & Industry, to offer a permit to a Chinese to import 500,000 metric tons of cement into Ghana without the approval of the Cement Monitoring Committee established by the government.

According to the Association, such a move will affect the profit margins of local cement manufacturers, as well as their ability to employ more people.

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Speaking at a press conference at Tema, Dr George Dawson-Ahmoah, Chairman of CMAG said “from 2014 to date, Ghana has been witnessing the importation of cement mainly from China to compete with local manufacturers.”

“The continuous up swelling of cement imports will compel local manufacturers to scale down operations and the negative economic consequences are so obvious to mention.

“It is, therefore, mind-boggling to see the ascendancy of cement imports from China by SOL and Fujian, and from Korea and Nigeria by Dangote cement, despite persistent petitions that manufacturers have installed capacities to meet local demand,” he said.

The Ministry of Trade & Industry, in collaboration with Cabinet, Parliament, and the support of the local cement manufacturers, has recently passed the Legislative Instrument (L.I.) 2240 to regulate exports and imports of Portland Cement.

However, the local manufacturers argue that a permit for 500,000 tonnes of bagged cement has been signed and issued by the Minister of Trade & Industry without recourse to procedures enshrined in the LI.

The association, which currently comprises GHACEM Limited, Tema; GHACEM Limited, Takoradi; Diamond Cement Ghana Limited, Aflao; Savanna Diamond Company Limited, Buipe and Western Diamond Cement Limited, Takoradi, argue that the move by the Minister constitutes unfair trade practices in the country.

“Cement manufacturers condemn this illegal, disrespectful act which is injurious to the local cement industry. Apart from the Minister’s disregard to the inherent procedural arrangement of regulations clearly spelt out in the L.I. 2240, we, the local cement manufacturers, maintain that this menace poses a setback and challenge to the Ministry of Trade & Industry and the Association of Ghana Industries’ promotion of made-in-Ghana products and the sustenance of thousands of jobs.

“We, the cement manufacturers, demand that the Minister revokes this permit not because we are preventing competition but the manner that it was issued violates the procedures as enshrined in the L.I.” he said.

The association has therefore appealed to government agencies, including Ghana Revenue Authority (Customs Division); Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority, Ghana Standards Authority, Ghana Shippers Authority, to investigate the importation of bagged cement from 1st August 2016 before clearance.

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