The Minister for Trade and Industry, Ms Hanna Tetteh, has revealed that the management of GHACEM has planned to increase its production capacity at the Tema factory from a current level of 1.2 million to 2.2 million tonnes per annum by September 2012.
According to her, the move which involve additional investment, which include the installation of a 150 tonne per hour mill from Christian Pfeiffer in Germany, 7,500 metric tonne concrete silo and upgraded packing capacity is necessary to ensure that GHACEM meets demand.
The minister who revealed this in a response to an urgent question in Parliament by Mr. Ben Abdallah Banda, Member for Offinso South, on the shortage of cement on the Ghanaian market between May and June 2011 said, with a 60 percent market share, the factory is currently, producing 4.5 million tonnes annually.
She explained that “ power outages coupled with irregular and inadequate raw material supply experienced by the three cement producing companies resulted in a supply gap, hence the increase in prices.”
Ms Tetteh noted that GHACEM on the average, experienced about 60 hours of power outages per week during the period which adversely affected the production and attendant supply of cement for distribution and sale,” resulting in huge backlog of supply to meet effective demand.
”During the same period, Diamond Cement Ghana Limited at Aflao which holds a 33 percent market share and Greenview International Company –Tema also experienced a low level of production due to irregular supply of raw materials,” She added
The Minister observed that electricity supply had currently, improved at GHACEM whereas the raw material supply at the Diamond Cement Ghana Limited had also normalised due to the completion of the rehabilitation work at the Lome Harbour in Togo.
Ms Tetteh informed the House that GHACEM had increased its production to 57 tonnes per week, the highest volume of production recorded since GHACEM started commercial production in Ghana when ECG resumed regular power supply and that Savanna Diamond Cement would also start supply before the end of the year.
She stressed that cement producers had not increased their ex-factory prices to accredited distributors and added that the price per bag of 50 kilogrammes to accredited distributors inclusive of Value Added Tax (VAT) since August 2009 to date had been GHC10.35 for GHACEM and 9.43 for Diamond Cement Ghana Limited.
She assured the House that the Ministry would continue to dialogue and urged the power suppliers ECG, GRIDCO and Volta River Authority to deliver to meet the requirements of manufacturing companies in Ghana in order to promote smooth operations of industry to meet the demands of the consumers.
Source: ISD (Gilbert Ankrah)