As the country continues to grapple with the continuous increase in cement prices, local cement manufacturers say efforts are being made to avert high production cost in a bid to reduce the price of the product.
They, however, say the continuous existence of a fumigation levy (Ghana Health Service Disinfectant levy) on imported raw materials for producing cement is hindering such efforts.
Cement Manufacturers have over the past 4 years been paying a fumigation fee of $0.50 per ton of each of the raw materials needed for producing cement, a situation the Chamber of Cement Manufacturers, Ghana (COCMAG) has described as pure extortion.
Rev. Dr. George Dawson-Ahmoah, Executive Secretary of COCMAG who spoke to the press explained that the Chamber with support from the Ministry of Trade and Industry had made several appeals to Government to wave off the fumigation fee at the port but to no avail.
He argued that the exercise is not necessary for dry cargo such as clinker, limestone and other cement raw materials, which most often do not exit through the Port gate.
“This levy yields to over millions of dollars, an amount the cement manufacturers could have used to enhance their productivity to create more employment. In fact, this is pure extortion because we’re being charged for no work done and experts including the Ghana Ports Authority, Ghana Standards Authority and other meaningful stakeholders have all concerted to the fact that fumigation of cement raw materials is absolutely unnecessary,” Rev. Dr. Dawson-Ahmoah insisted.
He added that even more worrisome is the fact that this levy is an additional cost to cement production.
“Due to the instability in the foreign currency, high freight charges leading to high cost of raw materials, we’ve seen a continuous rise in cement prices for some time now and to entertain an extortion of a so-called fumigation levy will worsen the situation.”
“We are therefore calling on government to as a matter of urgency call the Ministry of Health to order to salvage the situation and avert any future adverse implication on the cement industry,” said Rev Dr Dawson-Ahmoah.
Some health specialists at the port who spoke to the media admitted that cement components including clinker are not injurious to safety and more so do not pass through the machines that disinfect any item entering into the country as such the call by the cement manufacturers to wave off such fumigation levy is in order.
The Chamber of Cement Manufacturers, Ghana is the mouthpiece for the cement industry, legally registered since 2017 with the aim of advocating for fair trade practices within the cement industry.
In view of its sensitivity to the economy, the government represented by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with COCMAG to collaborate on strategic issues confronting the industry.
COCMAG is also in the process of signing an MoU with the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) to collaborate in protecting the integrity of buildings and infrastructures in the country through adherence to the appropriate standards.