Business News of Tuesday, 19 March 2013
Source: Graphic Business
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, last Friday paid a working visit to the country’s premier cement manufacturer, GHACEM Ltd, to acquaint himself with the operations of the company.
He was received and conducted round the facility by top officials of the company, including the Managing Director, Mr Morten Gade; the Strategy and Corporate Affairs Director, Dr George Dawson-Ahmoah; the Financial Director, Thorvaldsen Reidar; the Commercial Director, Nana Philip Archer; the Human Resource Director, Mr Kwamina George, and the IT Manager, Mr Alan Kerr-Yawson.
In a brief remark, Mr Gade said GHACEM was concerned with the production of quality cement with local materials and manpower, noting that that formed part of a grand effort to contribute meaningfully towards national development by exploiting indigenous expertise and technologies, as well as create employment for the people.
He touched on the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR), observing that the GHACEM Cement Foundation annually distributed free cement to deprived communities to improve their health and educational infrastructure.
Mr Gade assured the government that his outfit would continue to honour its royalties and tax obligations to the country, in the same spirit that consecutively won the company Best Tax Payer (Customs) awards in 2011 and 2012.
On his part, Mr Iddrisu said the government would soon set up an International Tariff Advisory Committee (ITAC) to curtail unfair trade practices in the country’s cement market.
He said the ITAC would particularly address petitions on claims relating to dumping and its consequences on the indigenous Ghanaian market to ensure fairness and a common tariff regime.
Dumping is when foreign businesses operating in a country sell their products at a much lower rate than what they sell them in their mother countries. That, according to Mr Iddrisu, was a development that the country would no longer tolerate, in that it normally “opens our market to others and they close theirs to us”.
“We will have to strengthen our ECOWAS Protocol and agree on a common tariff regime for all players in the cement business,” he said.
He expressed the hope that such a measure would ensure fairness and protect Ghanaian businesses against unfair trade practices.