Trade Ministry bans importation of cement

Importation of cement to Ghana will be seen as an illegitimate venture following the maturation of the Import and Export Regulations Bill this week.

The bill will outlaw the bagging and importation of cement to Ghana starting Friday, August 5.

Currently, GHACEM, which is produced by the Heidelberg Cement Group, is the only locally manufactured cement in the country.

Even though there are other brands that come to Ghana from neighbouring Nigeria and China, there are growing concerns that it would be appropriate for more cement factories to be sited in the country to produce the cement locally.

Agitation by industry players

The concerns registered by trade groups in the country led to the Ghana Import and Export Regulations Bill to regulate the business in the country.

Spearheaded by the Trade Ministry, the bill will put in place an import licensing regime for the importation of Portland cement for commercial purposes. It will also regulate the international trade in cement.

Per Ghana’s signatory to the ECOWAS trade agreements, the regulation will exempt importations coming from ECOWAS member countries.

But individuals and businesses seeking to import cement from non-ECOWAS member countries will have to apply for a renewable license.

The work of the bill

This, therefore, means that persons or businesses that will import without a license will face some punitive actions. They will be liable fines, a prison term or both.

In order to guard against defaulters of this new regulation, the ministry is going to establish a Portland Cement Monitoring Committee (PCMC) to implement and enforce the provisions of the regulation.

PCMC will also advise the Trade Ministry on issues regarding import, pricing, quantities and local production of Portland cement.

Although some policy analysts have lauded the initiative as wielding the potential of boosting local production, as well as creating creation, industry players cautioned the immediate implementation.

They believe, if not handled with care, it could lead to a sporadic price increment of cement in the country.