Ghana Cement Company Limited (GHACEM) has installed six diesel-generators to produce a total output of 5.1 megawatts of power at its plant at Tema to augment the current shortfall of energy supplies for production and the supply of cement on the market.
GHACEM has also started taking delivery of imported bagged cement from its sister company in Togo, expecting a total of 40,000 tons, which is equivalent to 800,000 bags to supplement production and supply of cement to the market.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony at Tema on Wednesday, the Managing Director, Mr Morten Gade said the six generators were sufficient to compensate for the 25 percent enforced reduction in electricity from the national grid.
He said subject to the availability of diesel, it would enable the company hit its total production capacity of 2.4 million tons annually at the factories at both Tema and Takoradi plants.
The Managing Director said most of the raw materials for the production of cement were imported thus contributing to the high price but despite that power was the imperative to the production and supply of the commodity to market.
The shortfall in energy supplies has a direct impact on the optimum production and distribution of cement on the market, he said.
He, however, indicated that GHACEM was still searching for local limestone with the objective of producing clinker, the main raw material of cement.
GHACEM, he said was also making a feasibility study to increase its production capacity by one million tons annually by January 2010 to meet the expected growing demand.
The President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Mr Anthony Oteng-Gyasi said while the industries were adhering to the 25 percent reduction in energy consumption, commercial and residential customers must also be compelled to reduce their power consumption.
He appealed to the government to expedite moves in the importation of energy bulbs and enforce its usage.
While efforts were being made to solve the energy situation, Mr Oteng-Gyasi who is also the Chairman of Ghana University Council and Managing Director of Tropical Cables Limited appealed to the government to consider investing in the production of generators in the country rather than importing them.
The AGI President said now that Ghanaians were relying solely on the use of generators, government must reduce the price of diesel, which feeds the generators to make it affordable to all.
Commissioning the generators, Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Information and National Orientation said government, concerned to resolve the energy situation had embarked on long, medium and short-term measures to return the energy consumption to normalcy.
These include the procurement of quantities of megawatts' generators to produce power, the installation of the Osagyefo Barge very soon as well as the construction of the Bui Dam.
The Minister impressed on GHACEM management to ensure that distributors did not capitalize on the situation to increase the price of cement arbitrarily to create artificial shortage.
The Strategy and Corporate Affairs Director of GHACEM, Dr George Dawson-Amoah said in spite of the current situation, the company which is 40 years in production would continue with its corporate social responsibilities to support the under privileged and the needy communities.
Mr Felix Nyarko, Chairman of the Cement Distributors Association expressed satisfaction with the arrangement put in place to address the situation and called on his colleagues to be patriotic enough to sell the cement at the approved prices.