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Salt To Earn Ghana $2bn Annually   
 
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21-Dec-2009  
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Ghana could earn up to $2 billion annually exporting salt to neighbouring countries in West Africa, particularly Nigeria, the region's leading economy which currently buys $2.3 billion worth of salt yearly from Brazil and Australia, experts have said.

Although Ghana has great potential for industrial salt production, it has remained largely untapped. With oil expected to become the country second leading revenue earner in 20 12, analysts say the salt industry could serve to further complement gold, cocoa and oil as one of the country's major sources of revenue in future.

While the commercial exploration of oil next year is expected to significantly grow local demand for salt in the country, experts have warned against the likelihood of further neglecting the salt industry in Ghana because of the present emphasis on oil.

"The whole attention of government right now is on oil. That ordinarily should serve well for the salt industry if we have considerably developed the sector, but that unfortunately is not the case now.

“So we are going to see a situation where we are going to be spending millions of dollars importing salt when the oil industry gets fully functional when we have lots of salt in our domain,” stated a former finance minister in a chat with BusinessDay in Accra.

The minister who served under the President John Kufuor administration, said the former administration identified the salt industry as one of the key industries for development but was not able to actualise its vision for it. "We just couldn't actualise our broad vision for the industry. The expectation is that with the coming of oil that vision will be actualized,” said the former minister.

Ghana has the production potential of 2.5 million metric tonnes of salt annually but currently produces only 50,000 metric tonnes, which is worth an estimated $3 million. According to George Aboagye chief executive officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, a major China investment in the salt industry is expected soon.

Mr Aboagye said some Chinese investors are looking at establishing a large salt production base in the country.

The Chinese salt project is expected to span a vast stretch of the Kpone-Ada-Keta area, that's the Eastern part of the southern belt of the country, but Aboagye believes that with-technology, China could expand the project to parts of the country stretching to the Western coastline. The project, which could take between two and three years, according to the GIPC, would not overcrowd local producers but rather complement their efforts since they could serve as feeder producers.

A two-man delegation from the Great Salt Lake City of Utah, USA, who were in the country five years ago at the invitation of the Ministry of Mines, and the Minerals Commission to study and provide expert advice on large-scale investment in the salt industry in Ghana, enjoined the government to, among other things, develop infrastructure in some of the salt-rich regions of the country as a way of attracting investors.

 
 
Source: BusinessDay
 
 

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