The Chamber of Cement Manufacturers Ghana (COGMAG) says it has received with shock news on the evasion of taxes concerning the importation of clinker at the ports.

Joy News on Monday November 4, 2019 reported that cement manufacturing companies have shortchanged the country with over $100 million lost at the Tema and Takoradi ports. The story explained that the ports lost millions of dollars in import duties and taxes on tonnes of clinker imported by cement manufacturing companies over the last five years.

But Executive Secretary of COGMAG, Rev. Dr George Dawson-Ahmoah, said in a press release that the news has come as a big surprise to the Chamber because members are credible and have been loyal with the payment of taxes as such it will be difficult to connive and manipulate the system.

Rev. Dr Dawson-Ahmoah argued that clinker is a bulk cargo that makes it impossible to conceal and under-declare, as such whatever quantity that has been declared over the past five years through the port in terms of importation of raw materials is consistent to whatever has been imported.

He further argued that all local manufacturers have international affiliation, hence its activities are consistent with international standards.

“We are saddened by the fact that investigators of the said report did not contact the cement manufacturers during the survey to verify figures before making such allegations. Cement manufacturers have been in the industry for many years and have been loyal and consistent with their financial obligations. We want to assure the industry that our members are committed to promoting the sector as such will not manipulate the system for any personal gains”.

Rev. Dr Dawson-Ahmoah who was not in the country at the time of the press release denied the figure of 895,519 reported as the total import of clinker in 2018 into the country as incorrect and misrepresentation.

“I can authoritatively say that about 3.4 million tons of Clinker were imported in 2018 with all relevant duties and taxes paid by the cement manufacturers. We dare them to authenticate the figures. Cement manufacturers are credible companies and cannot resort to such illegal transactions” he said and called for reconciliation from the writer and thereafter an unqualified apology.

“It is even worthy to note that the Ports of Tema and Takoradi are not the only Ports of entry into the country. Diamond Cement imports from Togo and other countries through Togo port. Then Savannah Diamond Cement produced Clinker locally and partially imports from Togo as such in calculating the composition of clinker into the production of cement, all the sources of importation must be accounted for”.

“The importation of clinker involves a lot of agencies and therefore manipulation of quantities is highly impossible. This is an international shipment covered by documentation from Port of origin and port of destination so such allegations must not be tolerated.”

The Executive Secretary concluded by insisting that the chamber stands with GPHA who held a contrary view that Ports’ measures make it difficult for cement companies to exploit the system.

“The system at the Ports in Tema and Takoradi are so rigid and cannot be easily manipulated especially with bulk cargo such as clinker. The cement manufacturers are ready to reconcile their importation figures with any investigations being carried out”.