The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, has said the current rise in cement prices was due to the cost of clinker and the cost of freight charges.
He attributed the costs to disruption in the global supply chain initially caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequently by the Russian-Ukraine conflict.
Mr Kyerematen said these on the floor of Parliament in response to a question by Yusuf Suleiman, Member of Parliament for Bole-Bamboi Constituency, who wanted to know what was accounting for the high cement prices recently.
He also further blamed the depreciation of the cedi against the United States dollar as well as increase in prices of petroleum products as some of the factors leading to the high cost of cement in the country.
In response to another query by the same MP as to the state of the Komenda Sugar Factory, the minister said the factory was currently undergoing major retooling and repair works which was about 98 per cent complete, with the projection to undertake a production test run by the end of July 2022.
He said with respect to civil works, the whole factory building and warehouse had been re-roofed to stop leakages and corrosion, adding, that, raw material warehouse as well as fencing of the factory were currently under construction.
Mr Kyerematen said four acres of nursery land had been prepared for the cultivation of sugarcane to support sugar production in the catchment area, saying, there were further plans to expand it to 500 acres after commencement of operations.
He said the Board of the company was finalising negotiations with traditional authorities to secure about 20,000 acres of land required for the plantation development in Sekyere Obuasi and Sekyere Hemeng in the Wassa East District.
To a question on the Ghana Trade Fair Site, the minister said the area was undergoing a major redevelopment exercise, adding that at the core of the transformation was the development of state of the art, world Convention and Exhibition Centre and a mix use commercial facility including hotels, corporate offices and retail and leisure centre.
He said the project concept and master plan design had been finalised together with the Land Title adding that, the land has been cleared in readiness for the construction works to commence.
Mr Kyerematen said the Ghana Trade Fair Company was currently engaged with private sector investors to come to financial close for syndication of financing for the project.
BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI