Cement Manufacturers Association of Ghana has stressed its demands on government of Ghana to revoke permits granted to foreign cement manufacturing companies since their operations in Ghana are killing the viable integrated Ghanaian Cement Industry.
According to the association, which currently comprises GHACEM Limited, Tcma; GHACEM Limited, Takoradi; Diamond Cement Ghana Limited, Aflao; Savanna Diamond Company Limited, Buipe and Western Diamond Cement Limited, Takoradi, behaviour by the Trades Minister foment unfair trade practices in the country.
They said, they are not by their demand preventing competition but that, the manner in which the permits are issued violate the procedures as enshrined in the Legislative Instrument (L.I. 2240).
According to Dr George Dawson-Ahmoah, Chairman of CMAG, at a press conference in Tema, the continuous upwelling of cement imports into Ghana will compel local cement companies to scale down operations since the imported cement have insignificant value-addition as compared to local cement industries chain of added value.
He expressed disappointment in the Minister for Trades and Industry for endorsing a permit for 500,000 tonnes of bagged cement to be imported into Ghana without following procedures contained in the L.I 2240 which the Ministry itself, together with Cabinet and Parliament passed to support Local Cement Manufacturers and to regulate Export and Imports of Portland Cement.
Dr George Dawson-Ahmoah said, there are also lapses in the issuance of licenses to these foreign companies. According to him, all relevant stakeholders including GRA, GPHA, GSA, GShA must investigate all importation of bagged Cement from August 1 before clearance adding that, “…..our concern in respect of the genuineness of what has been issued is the fact that, what Fujian cement company holds as an authorization to import cement issued and signed by the minister is a PERMIT Certificate whereas the Legislative Instrument states general provisions on LICENCES.”
He explained that, the license as required in the LI must be a letter form and not a certificate.
The manufacturers also touched on the importation of cement from Nigeria by Dangote Cement Company which is under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme.
However, Dr George Dawson-Ahmoah revealed that this importation is being done under unfair trade practices which is affecting Local Cement Manufacturing Companies.
According to him, bagged imports from Dangote Cement in Nigeria are covered by 30% export subsidy from the Nigerian Government giving Dangote an edge over the local industry in Ghana.
“Cement prices in Nigeria are higher than cement prices in Ghana. This is a clear case of dumping according to WTO definition. What is also worrying is that the Nigerian Government has restricted 41 items including Cement to be imported into Nigeria that is, non-tariff barrier whereby money cannot be transferred from Nigeria for these 41 items. Why should Ghana not retaliate and allow Nigerian imports such as cement which is restricted into Nigeria,” he asked.
In this regard, Dr Dawson-Ahmoah called on the government of Ghana to immediately halt the importation of Cement from Nigeria and investigate the 30% export subsidy, dumping activities, Non-tariff barrier to disallow export into Nigeria among others.
He also made some interesting revelations that, up to September 2016, Dangote has imported o.60million Tons of Bulk Cement and 94,000 MTs of bagged cement into Ghana and earned more than USD 100.00million through foreign exchange, 30% subsidy and savings of 10% duty on Powder Cement.
According to him, for Ghana Government to promote Made in Ghana goods and to help increase production, there must be an urgent need for Government to impose countervailing duty on imports from Nigeria, prevent anti-dumping, charge normal duties instead of concessional duty of 10% and save Ghana from bankruptcy for Dollars and prevent unfair trade practices.
He however stressed that their concern of the increasing trend of cement importation is not only on the impact of the local cement production but the tax liabilities of the importers.
He mentioned that FOB Values can be increased further to serve as a prohibitive measure to protect the “heavily local invested capacities.” They therefore suggested a $90 FOB on a ton of cement.
Dr Dawson-Ahmoah said, “The expected reduction in Ghana’s imports will dramatically reduce our import bill that piles heavy amount of pressure on the Cedi to reduce the strength against all major currencies particularly those of our trading partners.”
He averred that the total average financial contribution in terms of indirect and direct taxes, duties etc, paid to the government by local cement manufacturing companies stands at about GH¢700 million.
“It is therefore mind-boggling to see the ascendancy of cement imports from China by SOL and Fujian, and from Korea and Nigeria by Dangote cement, despite persistent petitions that manufacturers have installed capacities to meet local demand…. there was another cement factory coming up by the end of 2016 in the Free Zones enclave at Tema with a total capacity of 1 million tones per annum.”
He emphasized that, the Local Cement Manufacturers have adequate installed capacities to meet the growing demand, hence the importation of cement with its attendant unfair trade practices must be addressed in line with LI 2240 and the Ghana International Trade Commission.
By: Prosper Agbenyega/ Temanewsonline.com