Accra, July 13, GNA – The Institution of Engineering and Technology, (IET) Ghana on Saturday appealed to government to repeal PNDC Law 285 on Songhor Lagoon to allow and enable more investors into the salt production industry.
Reverend Eric Ankrah, IET, Ghana President said repealing the law would create more jobs for the teaming youth of the country, hence solving major economic problems in the country.
Rev Ankrah made the appeal in Accra at the swearing-in of an 18 member new council and the induction of 180 new members into IET, Ghana (formerly Institution of Incorporated Engineers), on the theme ‘Engineering and Technology, Backbone for Economic Development’.
He said the United Nations Industrial Development Organization Technology Programme stated that salt is one of the big five among chemicals which form the base of the chemical industry. The other four are sulphur, coal, limestone and petroleum.
Rev Ankrah said the chlor-alkali industry is the largest industrial consumer of salt, adding that salt is used in the leather industry for tanning and is also used in de-icing of roads and highways in Europe, America and Asia.
He said salt finds application in food industries such as canning, baking, processing of flour and other foods, meat packing, fish curing, dairying and food flavouring.
Rev Ankrah observed that salt is used in animal nutrition as a vehicle for supplementary minerals which are added in controlled doses.
He said gypsum (calcium sulphate) an additive to limestone (calcium carbonate), clinker for the manufacture of cement, gypsum for Plaster of Paris, chalks are all by-products of salt production.
‘To achieve these products from the salt industry, Ghana needs to produce minimum capacity of two million tons of salt per annum to meet envisage demand’, he explained.
Rev Ankrah said Ghana is blessed with all the parameters needed for salt production such as seawater, sun, moon, wind and impervious land that ensures good quality of salt production by Solar Salt Technology method in the Keta Lagoon and the Songhor Lagoon Basins.
‘Crude salt production would derive 97 per cent sodium chloride and this meet international standard for the chlor-alkali industry’ he noted.
He said the salt production capacity from these two lagoons could appreciate to approximately five million tons per annum.
‘Ghana is a rich country and if only our government will listen to us as Engineers and Technologist in the country, we will lend and not borrow, hence bringing the Engineering Council into existence.’ Rev Ankrah stated.
‘Ghana, our country has all the necessary natural resources, with all indication that this nation cannot be poor.’ He added.
Dr Bernice Heloo, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation said government had taking steps to encourage engineers and technologists, to help come out with simple, but robust alternative source of energy generation, town gas from solid waste to cut down on the cost of liquefied petroleum gas among others.
She said engineers and technologists were being also challenged to team-up and develop wind-propel electricity generating banks for rural areas.
Dr Hello called on engineers and planners to come on board to support government and the Ministry to address the issue of galamsey in reclaiming lost farmlands and salvage polluted waters.
Dr George Afeti, former Secretary General, Commonwealth Association of Polytechnics in Africa and former Rector, Ho Polytechnic said manufacturing, construction and the domestic production of goods and services for domestic consumption and export, supported by engineering and technology, is the best strategy for sustainable economic development.
He said Ghana needs advanced engineering and technological skills in many other sectors of the industry to drive economic growth, declaring that the absence of advanced skills puts a limitation on the country’s ability to promote value addition to primary commodities like cocoa, timber and gold.
Dr Afeti, who was the Chairman of the Committee that developed the roadmap for conversion of polytechnics to technical universities, said converted polytechnics are not to become ‘traditional’ universities with similar mandates or duplicate the courses and programmes that the universities are offering.
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