Former GREEDA president blames cement shortage partly on hoarding

Former President of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA), Dr. Alex Tweneboah, has cited hoarding by dealers for the acute shortage of cement in Accra.

He said cement dealers are holding on to the product in anticipation of further price increases.

Estate developers have lamented the shortage of cement in Accra, a situation that has stalled building projects in the capital.

The shortage, which has persisted for about three weeks now has also caused the price of cement to shoot up.

Fifty kilograms of cement sold at GH₵28 a few weeks ago but now sells GH₵35.

Mr Tweneboah said the causes of the current shortage and the hike in price are ‘a three-fold thing: it is the current economic crisis, it’s the devaluation of the cedi and to some extent…some people are hoarding the cement and anticipating further price increases – trying to capitalise on the prices’.

Dr Alex Tweneboah, however, said it is about time estate developers and Ghanaians as a whole looked at alternative methods of building as well as materials used for building.

‘We cannot continue to keep relying on imported materials, and most of our cement is imported’, he said on Joy News Thursday.

He added that importation of clinker, which is an essential raw material in the production of cement, for instance, puts pressure on the cedi.

The cedi, which government has been struggling to prop up, has fallen nearly 23 percent against the dollar so far this year. As at July 16, 2014 GH₵1 is equivalent to 0.03 dollars.

The biggest problem, according to Dr Tweneboah is that because of the cedi devaluation, the purchasing power of the average Ghanaian has been eroded, making it difficult for them to buy houses — a blow to the estate industry.

‘The only way we can get out of this crisis is by developing our own local industries, and promoting our local industries. For example we have developers who are importing doors. We have timber in this country. Why can’t we develop our industry for doors?’ he asked.

Mr George Dawson Amoah, Strategic Corporate Affairs Director of Ghacem, one of the major cement producers, however said the shortage of the product in the capital is only temporal.

He said although Ghacem has been hit with power cuts, the company is still producing cement.

In an earlier interview with an Accra based radio station, Mr Dawson-Amoah attributed the shortage of the product to low production caused by a fault on the main transformer of Diamond Cement Company, another major cement producer, located at Aflao in the Volta region.

He noted that Diamond Cement Company controls about 35 percent share of the market and added that the Aflao-based company produces about 32 tonnes of cement a week. Story by Ghana | | George Nyavor | [email protected]

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