The Cement Manufacturers Association of Ghana (CMAG) has been formally inaugurated to promote the interests of its members through collaboration, backed by a constitution.
Rev. Dr. George Dawson-Ahmoah, Strategy and Corporate Affairs Director of Ghacem – who is one of the leading brains behind the formation of the Cement manufacturer’s Association of Ghana since 2015 – has been confirmed as the first Executive Secretary with effect from 3rd August 2018 by the Governing Board, which currently comprises GHACEM Limited (Tema, Takoradi); Diamond Cement Group (Aflao, Buipe in the Northern Region and Takoradi); and CIMAF Ghana Limited (Tema).
It also named Mr. Raju Baddharaju (Diamond Cement Group) as the first chairman of the Governing Board. Other members that constitute the Governing Board include: Mr. Morten Gade-Member (Ghacem Limited); Mr. Eugene Laryea-Member (Ghacem Limited); Mr. N. Venkatesh-Member (Diamond Cement Group); Mr. Mohamed Bennis-Member (CIMAF Ghana Limited); and Mr. Joseph Aboo-Member (CIMAF Ghana Limited).
The Association is registered as an Associate member of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) – to promote, lobby, advocate and support matters affecting the cement manufacturing industry in the country – and is earmarked to operate in the likes of the Ghana Chamber of Mines that represents the interests of all mining companies, and the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications which represents telecommunication companies in the country.
The local cement industry has over the years faced a lot of challenges from the influx of imported cement into the country, thereby affecting local production and its attendant effect on employment and financial contribution to the economy. As such, with the coming into force of local cement manufacturing companies, the industry envisages a collaborative effort with government and all other Agencies to protect the local industry and ensure adequate production of quality cement needed in the country by the local cement companies.
The Association, the constitution clarifies, “is not a cartel, but an umbrella-body for cement manufacturers in the country. By cement manufacturer, we mean member-companies that are into manufacturing; i.e. converting raw materials into finished cement products either bulk or bagged in Ghana”.
Dr. Dawson-Ahmoah, who read this out in his welcome address, noted that the cement manufacturers coming together was in recognition of the enormous value addition that is being created by the companies – making the industry a strategic one in the economic development of Ghana. “Altogether, we have an installed production capacity of about 8.6 million tonnes per annum – creating over 3,000 of our own and outsourced employees, with an average financial contribution of over GH¢500million (direct, indirect taxes, port dues etc.) also creating extended business offers to various business entrepreneurs,” he noted.
Dr. Dawson-Ahmoah further indicated that by close of the year an additional manufacturing set-up with a total capacity of about 1.6 million tonnes is expected, making a total installed capacity of 10.2 million tonnes per annum – which he argues shows the economic importance of the cement manufacturing industries that calls for a united front focusing on ensuring adequate protection against unfair trade practices.
The event brought together gurus and top industry players in the Trade and Cement Industries. Notable among them were: Mr. Carlos Ahenkorah, Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry who was the Special guest; Dr. Yaw Adu-Gyamfi, President of AGI; Prof. Alex Dodoo, Director General-Ghana Standards Authority; Mr. Tony Oteng-Gyasi, Past-President of AGI; and Mr. Edward B. Ashong-Lartey, Director-Investment Services, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC)
Mr. Ahenkorah, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, in his inaugural address praised the cement manufacturers for the union – observing that the country is endowed with enormous raw materials, and as such any investment that will promote the use of these materials will have the full backing of government.
Government, he said, intends to grow the economy through industrialisation with the main target being employment; hence, any effort to create more jobs is welcome. He assured of government’s support to see the Association grow and seized the occasion to urge members to use the platform for ensuring cement prices are stable.
Commenting, Chairman of the Association Mr. Raju Baddharaju noted the objective of coming together as an Association is to protect the local cement industry from unfair trade practices in order to grow and support the economy. On behalf of the Governing board’s members, he pledged their preparedness to work together – ensuring transparency and focusing on activities which foster the industry’s growth.
He recounted efforts made by members in 2015 which saw the realisation of a Legislative Instrument (LI 2240) for protection from unfair trade practices, and urged members to still use the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC Act 926) to address the uncontrolled influx of bagged cement into the country to protect local cement manufacturers.