Ghana Cement Company (GHACEM) has denied a World Bank report that the company is enjoying monopoly in the sale of cement in the country.
The World Bank is reported to have expressed disappointment with the continuous dominance of GHACEM and the Diamond Cement Company in the construction and sale of cement in the country, hence suppressing competition in the sector with dire consequences on prices and supply of the product to the building and construction industry.
Reacting to the 19th June, 2012 publication by the Graphic business newspaper with the caption �Break Cement Duopoly � World Bank�, the Strategy and Corporate Affairs Director of GHACEM, Dr. George Dawson-Ahmoah stated emphatically that the company do not have total control in the building and construction industry as portrayed.
According to him, the monopoly of GHACEM was broken 12 years ago by the emergence of other production companies like Wacem, producers of Diamond Cement who operate from Aflao in the Volta region.
�GHACEM do not enjoy monopoly in the cement industry, monopoly is a thing of the past now especially because there are other players in the cement market. There is the Greenview International Limited operating in Tema community 2, Savanna Cement, operating from Buipe in the Northern Region, and Fortress International which imports bagged finished cement among others�, he noted.
Dr. Dawson-Ahmoah reiterated that Ghana has a trade liberalization policy which allows business entities interested to import any product or establish manufacturing units to do so, provided they go through the right procedures.
He said GHACEM is open to any fair and equal terms competition so far as the manufacturing and supplier of cement in Ghana is concerned, adding that GHACEM is not interested in sabotaging other competitors because the company will continue working hard to maintain its position as the leading manufacturer and supplier of cement in the country.
He recalled an instance where GHACEM and Diamond cement raised a joint petition in 2010 against the concessionary rate of 5% import duty which was beneficial to a Nigerian-based Cement importer, Greenview International Limited for packaging 50kg bags.
The basis for the concessionary rate, according to him, was that, the imported finished bulk cement was classified as raw material for the manufacturing of cement which was incorrect and contrary to the provisions in the Customs Harmonized Code; which is not only unfair practice to the cement industry but also detrimental to the revenue due the state.
�This petition was investigated by the government who though took several months for response saw the merit in it and thereby ruled on a concessionary rate of 10% for Greenview International Limited instead of the 5% concessionary rate�. He added.
Dr. Dawson-Ahmoah noted that GHACEM acknowledges the importance of cement in Ghana�s economic growth; hence it is committed to ensure reliability, consistency in production and adequate distribution of cement in the market.
He revealed that the Tema factory of GHACEM will have an additional capacity of 1million tons earmarked to meet the growing demand of cement in the market by the end of 2012.
According to him, the present capacity of the Tema factory is 1.2 million tons per annum; therefore beyond November 2012 GHACEM will be increasing its capacity in Tema to 2.2 million tons per annum and it will be replicated in the Takoradi factory soon after the commissioning in Tema.
� The focus of GHACEM as the leading cement manufacturing industry in Ghana for the past 45 years is to embark on strategic expansion projects to meet growing demands and not to prevent cement competition� he stated.
Tackling on the Corporate Social Responsibility, Dr. Dawson-Ahmoah reaffirmed that GHACEM is still committed to assisting schools and hospitals by improving their infrastructure under its Cement Foundation Program which has so far donated about 300,000 bags of cement, equivalent to over $2million to more than 2,000 communities across the length and breadth of the country.
He reiterated that the allegation of monopoly /duopoly of cement against GHACEM is unfortunate, misleading and doesn�t represent the real fact on the ground.
He added that GHACEM is not afraid of competition but will resist any unfair competition imposed on them.
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