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28.05.2007 Business & Finance

Pozzolana Cement agreement is fraudulent- CPP

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The Convention People's Party (CPP) on Sunday called on the government to fully disclose the detailed agreement signed between the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) with PMC Global Incorporated, an American Multinational Corporation for the commercial production of Pozzolana cement complement in the country.

The agreement was a betrayal of Ghana's industrialisation policy and a stab in the back of local research work, Dr. Kwaku Osafo, a leading member of the CPP told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra.

Dr. Osafo was commenting on a contract signed by CSIR with PMC Global Incorporated, on May 21 2007 for the Pozzolana, a cement complement invented and researched into by Dr. Alex Ampem Hammond, who died ten years ago, during his PHD thesis at the CSIR in 1990.

According to the agreement, CSIR would be given a seed money of 150,000 dollars to expand the pilot plant for the production of pozzolana at the Building and Road Research Institute, while the multinational company completed other agreements pertaining to land acquisition for the building of its own plant.
After the construction of the plant, PMC would take over the license and exclusive production of the Pozzolana for an initial five-year term.

Dr Osafo, a former World Bank International Development Economists questioned the rationale for selling a prosperous industry to a foreign interest for a paltry 150,000 dollars.
He suggested the formation of a local conglomerate to provide the seed capital, adding, "this is a very viable industries considering the importance of cement product in the building sector."

The CPP leading member also questioned why the PMC which was contributing only 150,000 dollars would have total control over the project and exclusive licence for the initial fives years of operation.

CSIR should be the owner of the licence who should, in turn lease it out to PMC for the production and the Controlling Shares should be with the originator of the invention in spite of the partnership, to serve as a tribute to the memory of Dr. Ampem Hammond.

Indications were that pozzolana had the potential of becoming a 100-million dollar a year product within a few years and the royalty stream from that alone could make a significant contribution to the funding of science and technology research in the country.
Dr Osafo, a CPP Presidential aspirant also questioned why a research body entered into an agreement for the production of its invention.
Normally Venture Capital firms take over such inventions and source for funding, he said and questioned the role of Government's venture capital firm in the whole agreement.

Professor Emmanuel Owusu-Bennoah, Director-General, CSIR and Mr Steven G. Cohen, Vice President, PMC Global Incorporated signed the agreements on behalf of their respective organisations.