Business News of Thursday, 24 December 2015
The Cement Manufacturers Association of Ghana (CMAG) have since April 2015 petitioned the Ministry of Trade, Tariff Advisory board, Commissioner of Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Parliamentary Select Committees of Finance and Trade/Industry on the alarming influx of imported bagged cement and its attendant negative consequences on the economy and the local cement manufacturing industries.
A statement released by the Association and signed by its Chairman, Rev. Dr. George Dawson-Ahmoah, said Ghana does not need imported bagged cement because the local Cement manufacturers have the adequate installed capacities to sustain employment, honour financial contributions, add value, use local raw materials, maintain required quality standards and meet the growing cement demand in the country. It adds that the imported cement has no value addition.
The statement said, members of the local cement manufacturers, comprising Ghacem Limited, Diamond Cement Ghana, Savanna Diamond Cement and Western Diamond Cement, together have installed capacities of about 7.4 million tonnes per annum, whereas the current consumption is only 5million tonnes per annum, leaving a surplus capacity of over 2 million tonnes.
The Statement contends that it is mind boggling to see the ascendency of imports of bagged cement from China despite persistent petitions that the manufacturers have the installed capacities to meet local demand.
It however maintains that the menace poses a set back and a challenge to the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Association of Ghana industries’ promotion of Made- in- Ghana products and the sustenance of the thousands of jobs the local cement industry creates.
The statement also unfortunately observed that, the cost and freight Values of imported bagged cement are ridiculously under declared.
Figures as low as between $25 and $30 per tonne, are declared as cost and freight from China for imported bagged cement. As seasoned manufacturers of cement with international links, CMAG certainly knows that these figures are incorrect, and the attention have been drawn to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, The Ghana Revenue Authority, Tarrif Advisory Board, etc.
As of now, a total of about 500,000 tons bagged cement have been imported into the country and CMAG dares to say there is revenue loss of over 50 million Ghana Cedis using these ridiculous cost and freight values i.e, $25 and $30 per tonnes.
The position of CMAG is that the realistic cost and freight values of imported bagged cement from China must not be less than $80 per tonnes.
The statement indicates that the cement industry needs protection to sustain the economy. According to the CMAG, together the cement industry contributes over 600million Ghana cedis annually in terms of duties and taxes to the state.
The CMAG statement also attests to the use of local limestone by local cement industries for the production of local cement.
The extraction of the local raw materials comes with payment of royalties which assist with community development.
Apart from that, the CMAG has also demonstrated its commitment towards corporate social responsibility thereby supporting infrastructural development in the country.
CMAG, therefore, advocates for Anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties, the statement added.
The CMAG further states that the government decided to undertake promotion of made-in-Ghana campaign to increase production and consumption of MiG goods and services. This was to expand the production capacities of Ghanaian companies, reduce imports and create employment opportunities for the people of Ghana
Yes, the expected reduction in Ghana’s imports will dramatically reduce our import bill that piles heavy amount of pressure on the cedi to reduce strength of the cedi. This will gradually improve the strength and performance of the cedi against all major currencies particularly those of our trading partners.
CMAG concludes unequivocally that they have the installed capacities to meet the growing demands, and, therefore importation of bagged cement with its negative consequences on the economy and the local cement manufacturing industries must be halted.
Bagged cement importation into the country from China are under-declared and therefore a huge loss to the economy and jeopardy to the established local cement industry.