The Consumer Protection Agency has blamed the high cost of both residential and commercial properties in Ghana on the monopoly enjoyed by Ghana Cement (GHACEM).
According to the CPA, Ghacem often increases prices of cement without taking into consideration the plight of the consumer due to the lack of competition.
The comments follow recent concerns by local cement manufacturers over loss of about 200 jobs due to the influx of imported cement from China.
Addressing a press conference in Accra on Thursday, the Chief Executive Officer of the Consumer Protection Agency, Kofi Kapito said government must allow other cement manufacturers into the country to lessen the plight of consumers.
“Ideally, cement is one of the basic inputs of building, apart from maybe purchasing the land. The issue is how many times for say the past three years, has cement gone up?
As we speak, cement is been sold for between GHc30- GHc35. If it had not even been for the fact that the cedi has been a little weak, we would be selling cement for almost 20 something dollars a bag.” he emphasized.
He went on to say that the establishment of other foreign cement companies in Ghana has relieved cement buyers of purchasing at very high prices from Ghacem.
“We all can testify. If it hadn’t been for the fact that Diamond cement, Dangote and others had come into the market, believe me, cement probably would have been about GHc50.00 by now.
Because Ghana cement had the monopoly for the longest time.”
He concluded that “But the consumer what do we want? We want competition, and we want prices to fall. Without competition, an economy like ours which is free market will never work.”
Local cement producers’ concerns baseless – Importers Association
The Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Sampson Asaaki Awingobit also took a swipe at the local cement manufacturers over concerns that Chinese manufacturers are taking over their jobs.
Mr Awingobit in his view said the argument being raised by the Cement Manufacturers’ Association of Ghana held no basis, adding that the industry needs diversity and not a monopoly system.
Local cement supply short of demand – Spio Garbrah
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Ekwow Spio Garbrah had also asserted that Ghana does not possess the capacity yet to provide the needed quantity of cement to satisfy the country’s cement demand.
He explained that the quantity manufactured in Ghana is not enough to meet demand arguing that although the outfit is advocating for made in Ghana products, the demand for cement is higher than supply, thus forcing government to import some to satisfy demand in Ghana.
By: Jessica Ayorkor Aryee/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana