The government has placed a moratorium on licensing of new cement factories, following the excessive supply of the building material on the Ghanaian market.
Additionally, steps have been taken to prevent the importation of the product, according to Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah.
At the third anniversary and customer awards ceremony of Ciments de l’Afrique (CIMAF), a Moroccan cement factory, in Accra on Friday, he said these measures were to lessen the burden of existing companies in response to their concern about cement glut.
The concern reiterated by Rev. Dr George Dawson-Ahmoah, Executive Secretary of the Chamber of Cement Manufacturers Ghana, at the ceremony, was that the eight cement companies had a production capacity of about 12 million tonnes but utilisation rate was 50 per cent and wondered why more cement should be allowed into the country.
Corroborating these challenges, Mr Ahenkorah said last year, the total ‘consumption ‘ of cement was about 6.5 million tonnes , an indication that should the eight companies produce to full capacity of 13 million, about seven or eight million tonnes of cement would have to find their way outside the country.
He, however cautioned that the government would stick with the measures, “except, when you the cement manufacturing companies do not turn yourselves into cartels” and control the prices of the product.
Otherwise, he said the floodgate would be opened for importation and competition explaining that arbitrary increases in prices of cement had political consequences.
Mr Ahenkorah, the Tema West Member of Parliament charged the chamber to make a case for cement for road construction to increase consumption of the product and durability of roads.
While commending CIMAF for bringing competition in the industry, he charged it to take advantage of the industrial park being developed in the Ashanti Region to expand its business and create more jobs, promising that the government would continue to create an enabling environment for all businesses.
Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea urged the private sector to support efforts by the government to address the housing deficit of about two million units through the provision of affordable housing.
Malik Sefrioui, CIMAF Africa Vice President, said the company was ready to support the country’s strive to reduce the housing deficit with quality cement.
He hoped that the government would consider cement in the year of roads agenda adding that the company would continue to produce quality products to meet industry demands.
“Your loyalty is immeasurable. Your quest for quality was strong and as CIMAF cement,” Mr Joseph Kobina Aboo, Director of Sales and Marketing of CIMAF Ghana, told the customers.
Professor Alexander Dodoo, Director General of Ghana Standard Authority, said his outfit was keen on ensuring quality of cements and had started certifying concrete products to rid the system of substandard products.
More than 10 customers were rewarded with plaques and citations at the ceremony that brought together all the industry players.
The honoured companies included Nana K. Gyasi Company Limited; K. Ofori Enterprise Limited; Estaaron Ventures; Capitol Limited and B-Rock Ventures.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR