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Business News of Saturday, 20 June 2015

Source: Daily Guide Network

Cement producers worried

The Ghana Cement Manufacturers’ Association (GCMA) has expressed dismay that its request to the importers of the product to make known their tax obligations to the state, among other things, has not elicited any response three or so weeks since they made the demand.

That the importers of cement have not responded this long, according to the association, is adequate proof that they the local producers were not just making noise when they demanded that the importation of cement be stopped forthwith because it was not in the interest of the state.

This latest remark from the local manufacturers is set to reverse the lull that had set in since the two engaged each other in a war of stances a little under a month ago.

While the local producers of cement claim that they play a critical role in their productive activities, the importers think otherwise.

Local producers claim that importers of cement have not been fair to the state as they engage in underhand deals – something which makes their products less expensive than the locally produced ones.

Local producers of cement have formalised their request to the government and are currently awaiting response.

Their counterparts in the importing sector would not have any of the charges as they claim that they pay so much to the state, adding that but for them the Tema Collection of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) would not be able to meet its revenue target.

The local producers include, among others, Diamond Cement, Ghana Cement (GHACEM) and Savannah Cement.

Their position is that since they pay so much to the state and employ many Ghanaians in their line of production, they need some protection from the others whose operations they said do not add appreciable dividend to the state kitty.

They have questioned customs duties paid on some 7,820,000 bags of cement imported into the country in 2014.

“They imported 7.82 million bags of cement in 2014 and paid GH¢18.36 million as duties and taxes as per their statement,” the local manufacturers said.

Had the importers been honest with the state, the local manufacturers said, they should have paid GH¢46.06 million.

It would be recalled that the clearing agent for the importers, SOL, had denied the claims of the local producers, explaining that “SOL has paid over GH¢30 million to the Customs Division. Some 41,000 tonnes of cement are currently awaiting clearing formalities at the port, from which a respectable amount of money would be due the state.”

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