The Parliament Select Committee on Trade and Industry has assured local cement manufacturers that it will take the necessary legal steps in ensuring fair trade practices within the cement industry are adhered to in order to move the industry forward.

Chairman of the Committee, Nana Amaniampong Marfo (MP, Afigya-Kwabre North) who spoke in an interview with the Press underscored the importance of the local cement industry to Ghana’s economy as such the need to support the sector for sustainable development.

Nana Amaniampong Marfo made this known when he led members of the Committee to engage members of the Chamber of Cement Manufacturers on challenges facing the local cement industry for a possible resolution.

Members of COCMAG comprising the Managing Directors/representatives from Ghacem Ltd, Diamond Cement Group, CIMAF Gh Ltd, and CBI Gh Ltd that form the nucleus of the local cement industry in Ghana were present to deliberate with the Trade and Industry Committee.

Nana Marfo reiterated the importance of meeting with members of COCMAG as a way of soliciting for views of key players in the cement industry to incorporate it into any laws government makes.

“Normally when you’re making an LI in Parliament and you do not solicit for views of people who are in the industry and you make it at the end of the day it will not serve its purpose”, he reiterated.

“As we have been made aware, the local Cement Industry is facing a lot of challenges from manufacturing, importation, and its final usage.

In fact, there are some of the cement products you do not know where it is coming from and we should know that all these affect the built environment. We will ensure that the Ghana Standards Authority comes in as well so we can together find a proper way of promoting the sector,” he added.

Chairman of COCMAG, Frederic Albrecht who is also the Managing Director of CBI Ghana Ltd manufacturers of Supacem Cement described the meeting as productive.

“We have been able to furnish the house with our challenges because as local manufacturers what we are concerned is the value we give to the market/Ghanaians in terms of the construction industry and the framework we put in place for the future of the industry.

COCMAG he established was formed to serve as the mouthpiece for the local cement industry by building a strong, united, and economically viable and sustainable cement industry in Ghana, promoting and protecting its interest and also to promote sustainable development principles and contribute to the social and economic development of the nation among others.

He informed the House of the numerous challenges facing the industry with top among them being the long-standing fumigation levy of 0.50 USD per ton, the New Jetty in Tema (about $10-$15 per ton increase in tariff if construction is pursued and implemented and the continuous influx of imported cement products coupled with permits given to companies to open up more new cement factories.

  The Chairman indicated that the opening up of more cement factories is not economically viable but has the impetus for players to compromise with quality.

“Currently we are going below 60 % utilisation. We’re now a country that produces 12 million tonnes of cement with a consumption capacity of around 6.4 million tonnes bringing an excess capacity of 5.7 m/tons meaning we have the adequate installed capacity.

We have also made it clear that we’re capable of embarking on expansions when the market demands so then one will ask why do we keep allowing more new entrants?.

We’re happy to meet the house and we expect to work hand in hand with them going forward because like we keep saying not every competitor is playing with the same rules so we need a regulation to establish a fair trade environment where we can all operate fairly.