The largest cement producer in the country, Ghacem says government must speed up plans to introduce the Automatic Tariff Adjustment, since that would be a preferred option than the current spate of hikes in tariffs.
The company says the recent utility tariffs increase was a big blow to their operations having to incur an additional operation cost of US$25million to maintain a regular power supply to meet its production capacity.
Ghacem happens not to be the only local company feeling the full brunt of the hikes in tariffs despite the unstable supply, but the increase in operational cost is the bane of other manufacturing companies.
“What we are saying is we expect utility providers to increase tariffs, but the issue is the provision of reliable power supply, access to power at an affordable price,” the Strategy and Corporate Affairs Director of Ghacem, Dr George Dawson- Ahmoah told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS.
He made this known in an interview after paying a dividend of GH˘2.4million to the Government of Ghana in respect of its shareholding of GH˘400,000 in the company. “We have an additional cost of US$25million on top of our operations which makes it very worrisome against the backdrop of competition from importers of already bagged cement,” he added.
Competition To even worsen their woes, the cement manufacturer says although it is not against competition from importers of already bagged cement, there should be a level playing field for them especially in the face of the current energy crises.
“Till date, we have individuals, companies importing finished bagged cement to the market, without the payment of Electricity bills, so that puts us at a competitive disadvantage,” Dr Ahmoah stressed in the interview.
With respect to the price being charged for imported bagged cements, he said it beats their imagination and the Ministry of Finance must look at the relevant tax components on imports in order to save the industry.
Information available on the company’s shows that the Ex- Factory per 50kg Bag (Ghacem Super Rapid) is sold at GH˘15.29 while the Ex- Factory per 50kg Bag (Ghacem Extra) goes for GH˘ 16.33.
Meanwhile, the imported ones do not sell any different from this, and considering the cost involved in producing and bagging locally, support must be given to ensure that they compete fairly.
A Deputy Finance Minister, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, who noted the concerns of the company said the energy sector has gone through a lot of turbulence and government was working consciously to cushion the industry.
The Automatic Tariff Adjustment, he said, was to ensure that the utility companies charge the right tariffs in order to sustain the operations of the local manufacturing companies.
“If Ghacem is to depend on generators as its source of power, you can imagine what will happen,” the deputy minister said.
Source: Graphic Business
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