THE MONOPOLY IN THE CEMENT INDUSTRY SHOULD BE BROKEN!

The current shortage of cement in the country, which has necessitated an adjustment in its price by the manufacturers, is very disturbing.

Its price has been raised to GH¢30, depending on where it is sold in the regions.

Currently, construction firms are being compelled to lay off their workers due to the unavailability of cement.

Dr. George Dawson-Ahmoah, the Corporate Affairs Director of GHACEM Limited, however, insists that the company currently produces an average of 58,000 tonnes of cement a week, a feat he describes as commendable.

He says GHACEM is currently facing two challenges in the attempt to arrest the shortage, which he identifies as erratic power outages which affect production, especially at the Takoradi factory, and pressure on the market.

“For one reason or the other, current manufacturers and importers of cement cannot meet the demand in supply, due to the depreciation of the Cedi,” he laments further.

Dr. Dawson-Ahmoah says the challenges have put pressure on GHACEM, because an average of about 40,000 tonnes of cement expected from other local manufacturers and importers are also missing on the market.

The Times regrets this unfortunate situation, which has compelled distributors and dealers to hike their prices astronomically.

It is now clear that the three manufacturers  GHACEM, Diamond and Dangote  cannot cope with the country’s demand.

Years ago, when the idea of using bricks as an alternative product in the construction of houses was experimented in several parts of the country, many were those who thought that a solution to our housing problem was in sight.

But typical of Ghanaians, we went to sleep on the idea, and allowed the status quo to remain.

And today, we find ourselves in a very tight corner, experiencing periodic shortages of cement, with their attendant price hikes.

The Times believes that as part of government’s investment drive, cement production should be one of the key areas to draw in both local and foreign investors.

Where companies are found to be creating shortages in order to exploit the people, the state must find ways, either through fiscal policies, or the promotion of competition, to stabilise the market and free the people from the clutches of the greed-oriented businesses.

We expect the relevant ministries and agencies to pick the issue up and do what is expected of them, by removing the factors which enable the cement manufacturers to hold the nation to ransom and exploit the situation to the detriment of the Ghanaian consumer.

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