Ministry withholds approval of granting 1D1F status to Empire Cement

Alan Kyeremanten

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, in line with a determination by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has withheld approval of granting the One District, One Factory (1D1F) status to Empire Cement Company Limited.

Mr Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, the Minister of Trade and Industry said the Ministry was awaiting the resolution of all outstanding issues in respect of the Empire Cement Company’s project.

The Minister made the disclosure on the floor of Parliament in his answer to a question by Mr Alhassan Kobina Ghansah, Member of Parliament (MP) for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, who asked the Minister what plans the Ministry was instituting to enable the Empire Cement Company Limited begin operations under the 1D1F to enable the Company address some of the unemployment situation in the country.

Mr Kyerematen recalled that the Empire Cement Company Ltd in October 2020, applied to be considered under the 1D1F Initiative.

He said in reviewing the application, a few issues were identified, which required consultations with the EPA.

He noted that after the consultation exercise, the EPA issued a report.

The EPA report inter alia stated as follows: “The Agency received an application from Empire Cement Ghana Ltd requesting for approval to construct and operate a cement factory at Weija Junction near Pambros Salt.

“Empire Cement subsequently in compliance with the directive of the Agency undertook a scoping exercise and submitted a report and a draft terms of reference (TOR) for approval and later submitted the environmental impact statement”.

The report said the agency upon reviewing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and considering the concerns of key stakeholders found the project not to be compatible with the adjoining land uses and then communicated to the company that the Project could not be sited at the proposed site.

It said Empire Cement Ghana Ltd upon receipt of a communication from the Agency not to approve the construction and operation of the cement factory, replied to the Agency to change the Project scope from cement production to cement bag manufacturing.

The report said the EPA reviewed the second application and requested the Company to undertake a preliminary environmental impact assessment for the cement paper bag manufacturing.

It said the Company complied and submitted a preliminary environmental report, which was reviewed, approved and the permit subsequently issued.

It was later observed that the Company had installed equipment and facilities to produce cement, instead of the approved cement bag manufacturing.

The report said the EPA therefore, revoked the permit issued to Empire Cement to produce cement paper bags.

“We wish to indicate that the Agency has not permitted Empire Cement to manufacture cement on the site next to the Pambros Salt, but rather permitted Empire Cement to produce cement bags on that site; since that activity that is cement paper bag manufacturing was compatible with adjoining land uses,” the report said.

The Minister said officials of the Ministry had paid regular visits to the site of the Company to study the situation.

Mr Kyerematen said it was not within the authority of the Ministry to make a judgement on the application, whether it was right or not, adding that “we go by the recommendations of the EPA”.

Mr Ghansah again asked the Minister that since the company had invested so much and was ready to take-off with a capacity of employing over 500 people, what plans could the Ministry put in place to assist in the smooth take-off of the company?

“Mr speaker, if the Company is granted the right and authority to undertake their activity that they are interested in undertaking, then the Ministry would provide all the support that they require under the 1D1F regime to assist the company to operate,” Mr Kyerematen said.

Source: GNA

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