Salt producers urged to take advantage of West Africa market

By GNA
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By GNA

10/28/2003 -

Accra, Oct. 28, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday appealed to salt producers in Ghana to make the necessary investments to take advantage of the huge salt market within the West Africa Sub-Region.

He said statistics available indicated that salt production from Ghana and Senegal, the major producers in the Sub-Region, could not meet the demands, therefore, the producers should make efforts to take advantage of the market.

President Kufuor made the appeal when a delegation from the National Salt Producers Association of Ghana (NASPAG) paid a courtesy call on him at the Castle, Osu.

He urged the producers to ensure that strangers were not allowed to take over the industry to the detriment of the local producers. "You should show that you can take advantage of the market, but if you have any doubts on government's motives and decisions do not harbour any suspicion. Let us know to take measures to rectify them in the national interest", he said.

President Kufuor called on the salt producers to appoint two representatives of NASPAG to serve on the President's Special Initiative (PSI) on Salt to keep members abreast on government's vision and policies in the industry.

He said the PSI was launched to offer an opportunity to Ghanaian entrepreneurs to diversify the economy.

President Kufuor pledged Government's support to the industry and urged them to be fair in their negotiations with traditional authorities in their areas of operations.

Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Private Sector Development, said a thorny issue affecting the industry was the decision by a Ghanaian entrepreneur in collaboration with a Brazilian company to import salt to Ghana and re-bag them for export to Cote d'Ivoire and other countries within the Sub-Region.

He said such a venture was in line with the Government's policy on the PSI for increase and expansion in production for export but Government would take the necessary measures to stop such importation when they affected the local industry.

Mr Bartels said in an era of liberalized economy, it would not be ideal to ban the importation of salt adding that some companies including UNILEVER imported salt into Ghana.

He said Government would ensure that local entrepreneurs in the salt industry were protected.

Mr Leon Appenteng, President of NASPAG, said the demand for salt in the Sub-Region was about 1.5 million tonnes but the current production was about 300 tonnes leading to net importation.

He said placing a ban on the importation of salt for re-bagging would create the necessary conditions for the local salt industry to pick up.

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By: K.OWARE - Hamburg