The Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T. Hammond has introduced a new legislation in Parliament to combat arbitrariness in the pricing of cement.

This comes after the minister’s moral persuasion of cement manufacturers to stop arbitrary price increases and publish their retail prices failed.

Mr. Hammond told journalists in Parliament yesterday that his ministry had introduced a regulation in the House, which is intended to sanitize the cement industry.

“You would also realize that for a long time, you never see cement prices de-escalating. It’s always escalating. It’s always going up through the ceiling, through the roof, and towards the skies.

“Somehow, something has to be done about this. At a point in time we were not producing so much cement in the country. Now we have an installed capacity of over 11 million tons in the country.

“Our demand is nothing like 11 million, so it might be a very profitable enterprise. But I think it behooves those in responsible positions in authority to ensure that the good people of Ghana are not fleeced. I am not comfortable,” he stated.

The minister indicated that he did not believe that Ghanaians are getting good prices for “all that it’s worth.”

“I think there’s something fundamentally wrong with the pricing of cement in the country. It was about the same issue that we tackled when we were at the Ministry of Energy, [is done to the cement sector],” Mr. Hammond stated.

He indicated that the new Legislative Instrument (L.I.), when it becomes a law, would introduce a price stabilization fund that will regulate cement pricing in the country.

“Put something together, so we have a situation where in Bolga, a bag of cement sells the same as it sells in Accra. In Kumasi, it sells at the same as it sells at Sefwi Wiawso. We’ll discuss all these matters.

“And then, of course, let’s also ensure that there is some kind of sense. It shouldn’t be so arbitrary. I wouldn’t allow a situation where you don’t have an oligarchy operating when there wasn’t a monopoly.

He added, “Even though there was a monopoly when Ghacem was the only company operating, we turned it into a monopoly. Now we have all of them and still cement prices are not coming down.”

“There are some items which are of such considerable importance to the country. It’s for the general use of everyone. Petroleum products, there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

“It’s a kind of syndicator. We all would have to, at one point or another, depend on petroleum products. Cement has acquired that status,” the minister said.

“Every sector of the economy, your house, your work, whatever projects, you require cement for that purpose. Now, I take the view that it’s about time that the country was better served by those who are selling these products. You have a kind of arbitrariness in the pricing of cement,” he stressed.

Source: Daily Guide

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