Local cement manufacturers have challenged Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Minister of Trade & Industry, to produce evidence to buttress his point that demand of cement is higher than supply in Ghana.
According to the cement manufacturers, such statements by Mr Spio-Garbrah were “absolutely incorrect and misleading.”
Reacting to comments by the Minister, the manufacturers, in a statement signed by Dr George Dawson-Ahmoah, chairman, stated: “As seasoned manufacturers of cement, we consistently monitor the demand and supply dynamics and authoritatively maintain that there is a surplus capacity of supply of cement in the country of about three million tonnes per annum.”
They also described comments by the Minister that the installed capacities of the cement manufacturers were questionable as very unfortunate.
“We recall that the Tariff Advisory Board physically visited all the cement manufacturing factories in the country to ascertain the various installed capacities and a report made available to the Hon Minister.
“This report, we can confirm, was the basis on which the Hon Minister wrote a Memorandum to the Cabinet in April 2016, justifying the Regulation of Exports and Imports of cement in the country.”
It very disappointing and a big surprise for the Minister to now challenge the installed capacities of the cement manufacturing companies, they added.
The cement manufacturers further maintained that the current installed capacities of cement manufacturers were about 8 million tons with average cement consumption of about 5 million tons.
“The Hon Minister’s defence of the issuance of the permit for the importation of 500,000 tons, which is equivalent to 10 million bags of cement, is totally incorrect. The L.I 2240 is very clear on what is required to be done prior to the issuance of an import licence for importation of cement into the country.
Questions for Spio-Garbrah
“Why did the Hon Minister inaugurate the Cement Monitoring Committee if the committee is not important in implementing and enforcing the L.I? What was the role of the Monitoring Committee in respect of the issuance of the permit for the importation of the 500,000 tons (10 million bags) of cement into the country?
How much fee did the importer pay to the Ministry of Trade and Industry in respect of the Licence? This same Minister is the chairman of the Promotion of Made-in-Ghana products.”
Revenue loss averted
“Whereas these importers were under-declaring values for customs clearance as low as CIF $20 per ton, the Ministry of Trade and Industry defended it (evidence can be provided) and thankfully through the careful checks by the Commissioner General of GRA and the Commissioner of Customs, the petition of the cement manufacturers was upheld and now the FOB has been raised to $60 per ton leading to about $75 per ton CIF, a huge savings for the country.”
“This is the background of our impasse. This rectification was done in May 2016 and importation heightened from 2014. Just do the calculation of revenue loss from that period. In Cote d’Ivoire, the CIF per ton for imported cement is $98 per ton.”
By Samuel Boadi