Local cement manufacturers have called on government to immediately stop the importation of bagged Dangote cement from Nigeria.
According to them, Dangote Cement was making more dollars in Ghana via what they termed unfair trade practices which is grossly affecting their operations.
In a statement released recently, the local manufactures said Dangote cement (in powder form) and currently being imported from Korea has been described as semi-unfinished cement and attracts only 10 percent import duty.
They further pointed out that the powdered 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.
“Since it is not easy to export to Francophone countries and remit dollars to Nigeria, Dangote is concentrating in Ghana for dollars,” they said.
Unfair trade practices
The local manufacturers also said such imports by Dangote were made under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) which opened the gateway for unfair trade practices that greatly affect the local producers.
They said “bagged imports from Dangote Cement in Nigeria are covered by 30 percent export subsidy from the government of Nigeria which gives the company an edge over the local cement industry. What measures are in place in Ghana to counteract this unfair trade practice?”
The manufacturers appealed to the government to expedite action through the recently established Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC) to protect the local cement industry.
“What is worrying is that the Nigerian Government has restricted 41 items, including cement, imported into Nigeria. Why should Ghana not retaliate but allow Nigerian imports such as cement which is restricted into Nigeria.
“We, the manufacturers of local cement, are calling on the government to immediately halt the importation of cement from Nigeria,” they said.
Nigeria’s oil drop effects
The group said the drop in oil prices in Nigeria had affected the inflow of major foreign currencies, especially dollars so export of other products like cement is encouraged by allowing 30 percent on these products to obtain dollars at any cost.
Money cannot be transferred from Nigeria for the 41 items, an indirect preventive measure of imports even for ECOWAS countries.
Dangote’s concentration in Ghana
BUSINESS GUIDE has gathered that Dangote is targeting the Ghanaian market because it is not making enough money in Nigeria.
Dangote Cement sells cement at N2,300 per bag (GH¢28.9) in Nigeria but selling in Ghana at GH¢27.
Many people wonder why Dangote cement which is manufactured in Nigeria is selling at higher price in that country than Ghana.
According to them, it appears Dangote is not paying the right import duties on its imported cement that is why the product is sold cheap on the Ghanaian market.
The situation, they said, is affecting operations of the local manufactures and driving them out of business due to the high cost of producing cement in Ghana.
What Ghana Must Do
The group said Ghana has to impose countervailing duty since Dangote is availing 30 percent subsidy, prevent anti-dumping since the prices in Nigeria are more than Ghana; charge normal duties instead of concessional duty of 10 percent and prevent unfair trade practices.
“We also maintain that Dangote importation of bulk (powder) cement from Korea is finished product and not semi-finished as described and can be used directly from the quay for any construction works. Therefore the current concessionary duty rate of 10 percent is unfair and must be reviewed to ensure fairness in the cement competition,” they said.
Increase FOB Value
“After various checks and investigations by the cement manufacturers, the declaration from the importers which was about $20 per ton, was raised to $60 per tin FOB.
“We, the Cement Manufacturers, still believe that the FOB value should be increased to $90 per ton to serve as a prohibitive measure to protect the heavily local invested capabilities.
The cement manufacturers said they have adequate installed capacities to meet the growing demand, and therefore importation of cement with its attendant on fair trade practices must be addressed in line with the Legislative Instrument and the Ghana International Trade Commission.
By Cephas Larbi