Cement Producers Condemn Unfair Trade Practices

Dr George Dawson-Ahmoah

Local cement manufacturers have highlighted some unfair trade practices in the country which have negatively affected their operations.

A recent statement by the local manufacturers said they are dealing with high production costs, electricity tariffs, taxation, cost of credit, access to credit, poor infrastructure, as well as high cost of raw materials and labour, among others.

The statement signed by George Dawson-Ahmoah, Chairman of the Association, said that “Is the Minister using these unfair trade practices to control prices in the market? God save our country! We have severally been hinting the Ministry of Trade & Industry of unfair trade practices such as export subsidies, dumping, under declaration of values, low tariffs, under declaration of volumes imported and abuses at bonded warehousing, etc.

“Is the Minister aware that Dangote cement (in powder form) currently being imported from Korea is described as semi-unfinished cement and only 10 percent import duty is paid on it?

The association further pointed out that the powered cement being imported by Dangote was a finished product that could be delivered directly from the ship side to a customer for any construction work, adding that the duty paid on it was inappropriate.

Initially, they said Dangote Company described the finished powdered cement as “raw material” and paid a concessionary duty rate of 5 percent in 2011.

They explained that they had to petition the government over huge revenue loss, and subsequently after thorough investigation, the petition was upheld and the concessionary duty rate increased to 10 percent.

“If such a company is allowed in the country under this unfair trade practice, why wouldn’t the retail price of its product be lower?

They stated that Dangote cement imported from Nigeria was under the ECOWAS Trade Scheme which does not attract any duty with 30 percent export subsidy from the Nigerian government.

They added that cement prices in Nigeria are higher than cement prices in Ghana.

“The assertion that some cement manufacturers have enjoyed “monopoly” for 50 years and therefore scared of competition is really an understatement by the Minister.

“Cement manufacturers have repeatedly maintained that competition is good but must be fair.”

By Samuel Boadi

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