The Chamber of Cement Manufacturers, Ghana (COCMAG) said the Fumigation Levy charged on imported clinker is having serious financial toll on cement production companies in the country and pushing the cost of cement up.
The Executive Secretary of COCMAG, Reverend Dr George Dawson-Ahmoah, who expressed the concern in an interaction with the media, said the local cement manufacturers were working frantically to avert the high cost of production to help reduce or maintain the price of cement, but the continuous existence of the Fumigation Levy on imported raw materials was hindering such efforts.
He said the Fumigation Levy was “pure extortion,” stressing that “one cannot pay for a service for no work done.”
Cement consumers continue to grapple with the continuous increase in cement prices, which COCMAG attributed to the high cost of production.
Rev. Dr Dawson-Ahmoah said cement manufacturers had over the past four years been paying $0.50 per tonne which translated to millions of dollars per annum to “fumigate” cement raw material such as clinker before clearance at the Ports.
The Executive Secretary said the Fumigation Levy was not necessary for dry cargo such as clinker, limestone and other cement raw materials which most often do not exit through the Port gate.
“This levy yields to over millions of dollars, an amount the cement manufacturers could have used to enhance its productivity to create more employment”.
“In fact this is pure extortion because we’re being charged for no work done and experts including the Ghana Ports Authority, Ghana Standards Authority and other meaningful stakeholders have all concerted to the fact that fumigation of cement raw materials is absolutely unnecessary,” Rev.Dr Dawson-Ahmoah heatedly submitted.
He added that even more worrisome was the fact that the levy was an additional cost to cement production.
He said the Chamber supported by the Ministry of Trade and Industry had made several appeals to the government to waive off the fumigation fee being collected at the Port.
“Due to the instability in the foreign currency, high freight charges leading to high cost of raw materials, we have seen a continuous rise in cement prices for some time now and to entertain an extortion of a so called fumigation levy will worsen the situation,” Rev. Dr Dawson-Ahmoah, said.
“We are therefore calling on government to as a matter of urgency call the Ministry of Health to order to salvage the situation and avert any future adverse implication on the cement industry,” said Rev. Dr Dawson
In a related development, Rev. Dr Ahmoah said in view of its sensitivity to the economy, government represented by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with COCMAG to collaborate on strategic issues confronting the industry and also in the process of signing an MoU with the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to collaborate in protecting the integrity of buildings and infrastructures in the country by the adherence to the appropriate standards.
That, he said, was against the backdrop of risk of high tendency of compromising the cement quality for survival especially with the new entrants.
The Chamber of Cement Manufacturers, Ghana (COCMAG) is the mouthpiece for the cement industry legally registered since 2017 with the avowed aim of creating an advocacy for fair trade practices within the cement industry.
BY TIMES REPORTER