The Association of Cement Manufacturers of Ghana, (CMAG), is demanding an immediate apology from the Trade and Industry Minister, Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah, for allegedly granting permits to some foreign cement producers to export their products directly onto the Ghanaian market.
The local manufactures say, Dr. Spio Garbrah acted illegally when he deliberately signed and issued permits to SOL Cement from China and Fujian from Korea, to import five hundred thousand tonnes of the product.
Members of the association argue that, the minister is virtually pushing them out of business with the decision.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show today [Wednesday], the spokesperson for the Cement Manufacturers, Dr. Dawson Amoah said the minister breached the legislative Instrument( LI) that regulates imports and exports of the product.
“…The solution to stop all these press conferences and our petitions is for the Minister to say I am sorry. We are talking about good image, compliance, adherence to law. This is a legal issue; once there is a law it must be adhered to.”
He explained that their position is not against competition from foreign cement manufacturers, saying “we are fighting on fair trade; we are fighting illegality so far as importation in concerned.”
“Cement importation has been on the market for a long time, but we are competing. Our issue here is that, let us make sure that we actually erase unfair trade practices and this is one of them. That is unfairness, absolutely unfair,” Dr. Amoah added.
We’ve not been given any permit
Meanwhile, the Chief of Gomoa-Desuom, and the Manager of SOL Cement in Ghana, Nana Obokomata IX, has dismissed claims that his firm has been granted an import license by the Trades Minister.
“We should have been given the license first; but we are not casting any insinuation at anybody. What we are saying is that, we have tendered in our documents to the Ministry of Trade and as we speak, SOL cement has come to stay, we have a land and we have started building a cement factory in Ghana. Anybody who is interested, I will march him to Tema, just behind TOR, there is a vast land which has been acquired by SOL and we are going to put up an ultra-modern cement manufacturing machine, which is on the sea coming so we are here to supplement the cement production in the country,” he said.
Manufacturers fume over ‘illegal’ importation of cement
CMAG at a press conference on Tuesday expressed dismay at Spio-Garbrah over the issue, which they claimed was without the approval of the Cement Monitoring Committee established by government.
Dr. Amoah while addressing the press, complained that the move if not checked could trigger job losses.
“The continuous up swelling of cement imports will compel local manufacturers to scale down operations and the negative economic consequences are so obvious to mention. It is therefore mind-boggling to see the ascendancy of cement imports from China by SOL and Fujian, and from Korea and Nigeria by Dangote cement, despite persistent petitions that manufacturers have installed capacities to meet local demand.”