Ghana’s Trade Ministry moves to protect local cement industry

ghacem-cementThe Ministry of Trade and Industry has given a public notice of its intended executive action aimed at protecting the local cement industry from cheap imports.

A statement signed by Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, the sector Minister, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, said in recent months, there had been claims and counter claims from different groups in the cement import and distribution sector.

The statement said the claims had revolved around alleged low-priced dumping of imported cement; other complaints had centered on the value that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) should rate cement imported into the country.

“Currently, cement manufacturers in Ghana have a production capacity of nearly nine million metric tonnes per year, while national consumption is less than six million; this means an overcapacity of some three million tonnes per annum.

“Current imports of more than one million tonnes of cement per annum places additional pressure on local manufacturers,” it said.

“The conflicts in the industry have led to the filling of competing petitions by local cement manufacturers and the cement importers. The standoff is unhealthy,” the statement said.

It said in order to bring sanity into the sector and relief to local manufacturers and facilitate international trade, the Ministry of Trade and Industry proposes through Legislative Instrument to impose a ceiling on the annual importation of cement into Ghana.

It observed that companies that wish to import bagged cement shall be issued a permit to avoid the chaos that had lately saddled the sector.

It said the limited imports would prevent local manufacturers from taking undue price advantage of consumers.

“The Ministry of Ministry of Trade Industry, therefore, gives all cement importers up to 31st March 2016 to register with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

“Companies that are legitimately licensed under the ECOWAS Trade Liberation Scheme are exempted from the need to apply for permits.

“Comments, opinions and recommendations are welcomed from legitimate stakeholders in the cement industry,” the statement said.

Source: GNA

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