The Paramount Chief of the Aflao Traditional Area, Togbui Amenya Fiti IV, has appealed to President John Mahama to intervene in what he termed as the “cement war” raging in the country.
Some residents of the Aflao have in recent times demonstrated over what they term the unhealthy competition faced by the local cement company located in the area Diamond Cement from foreign competitors.
The Ghana Cement Manufacturers Association have called for a regulation on the importation of cement to alleviate the pressure on the local cement industry.
Speaking during President Mahama’s visit to Aflao over the weekend, Togbui Fiti, underscored the need for a Presidential intervention to address the issue.
“You Excellency, there is a cement war currently going on in the country and I therefore humbly wish to appeal to you to intervene to create a level playing field for all stakeholders in the cement industry in order to save our local industries from folding up,” he said.
Background to ‘cement war’
Togbui Amenya Fiti’s concerns stem from the tensions created by the import of cement from China and Nigeria.
Some youth of Aflao accused government of being insensitive to the imminent downsizing of Diamond Cement because of Dangote’s involvement in the retail of the product in Ghana, describing it as unfair competition.
The development is said to have reduced Diamond Cement’s annual production capacity of 1.8 million bags, to 1.3 million bags.
A youth group, mostly casual workers of Diamond Cement alleged cheating on the part of Dangote cement as they have explained that the activity by the Nigerian company is offering undue competition which in their opinion is likely to cripple the growth and expansion of Diamond cement.
Anger at Trade Ministry
In October 2016, the Cement Manufacturers Association of Ghana (CMAG) expressed its displeasure with Ekow Spio-Garbrah, Minister of Trade & Industry, for offering a permit to a Chinese company to import 500,000 metric tons of cement into Ghana without the approval of the Cement Monitoring Committee established by government.
According to the association, which comprises GHACEM Limited, Tema; GHACEM Limited, Takoradi; Diamond Cement Ghana Limited, Aflao; Savanna Diamond Company Limited, Buipe and Western Diamond Cement Limited, Takoradi, the permit festered unfair trade practices in the country.