Trade Minister defends cement imports from China

Trade and Industry Minister, Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah has clarified that the cement regulation law was set up to regulate the import of cement into the country and not to totally ban them as being asserted by cement manufacturers in Ghana.

According to the Minister, the 500 thousand bags imported by Fujian, a Korean cement company is only but a quarter of what is being imported into the country yearly and will not pose any threat to the Ghanaian cement manufacturers.

“All these companies were already importing cement before the cement regulation came out. The cement regulation was not intended to ban the importation of cement, it was supposed to regulate, in other words to preferably reduce the total quantities of cement imported into the country each year,” the Minister said.

Dr. Spio Garbrah’s comment follows agitations by local cement manufacturers of Ghana who say the Minister has flouted his own rules of banning the import of Chinese and other foreign cement, into the country.

The regulation also followed the numerous agitations by some industry players of undue competition from imported cement from China.

Speaking to Citi Business News, Dr Spio Garbrah maintained that the actions of the ministry will not collapse the production of local cement in the country.

“According to the cement manufacturers themselves and also figures from the customs annual cement, imports could be in the region of one million to two million in a year. So if you give a company only 500 thousand bags of cement to import, which is something in the region of about 25,000 tonnes, that is a small fraction of the total amount of cement imported into the country.” he emphasized.

He added that the minister under the legislation is the only authority required to approve the licenses for these companies.

Cement manufacturers not happy with Trade Minister

The Cement Manufacturers Association of Ghana however hit back at the Trade Ministry’s decision to granting permit to the company (Fujian) to import 500 metric tons of cement into the country.

The association argued that the minister’s action contradicted the Legislative Instrument and should not be entertained.

“The minister can never work without the cement monitoring, no way. I just want to make it very clear that with this very issue, the minister should be bold and apologize because he can never defend himself. What the minister did is absolutely in contradiction of the Legislative Instrument,” Spokesperson for the Cement Manufacturers Association of Ghana Dr George Dorson Amoah stated.

He further added that “if you resize what has been given to the Fujian cement company in Tema, it shows permit to import cement under the LI 2240. But if you look at the position of the LI, it is talking about license and the license that the LI is talking about is a letter teaching what one has to do.”

By: Jessica Ayorkor Aryee/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana

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