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Business & Finance | Apr 29, 2004

Diamond Cement to Double Production Soon If...

Ghanaian Chronicle

Diamond Cement Ghana Limited (DCGL) is poised to double its current average daily production of 50,000 bags to 100,000 if the favourable market it has so far captured and the current demand level continues to rise the way it is doing now.

This was made known by the company's general manager, Mr. K. Chitti Babu, in an interview with The Chronicle here recently.

According to Mr. Babu, even though the company is located far from Tema, the country's most popular industrial zone, it has won the confidence of the Ghanaian consumer less than twenty months after it went into production.

"We started production on a much smaller scale than this, but the level of production continued to rise to meet increasing demand.

And from the way things are going we hope to expand our capacity and double production in the near future to meet demand because Ghana is developing fast", the general manager remarked.

Mr. Babu intimated that 98 per cent of the company's workforce is Ghanaian, and assured that preference would be given to indigenous labour even though the factory is located near the country's eastern border.

He denied complaints that contractors from the Republic of Togo were paid better than their Ghanaian counterparts, and pointed out that what some artisans and labourers probably noted as wage differentials could stem from the fact that different sub-contractors take up their jobs with fewer number of workers, and also manage to finish the job faster, hence they get higher wages as against those who had to pay more workers over a much longer period.

"My brother, we don't look at the face of the worker. We give out the job on contract and look at the quality of work done, but we intervene when it comes to our notice that some people are being paid below the minimum wage", he stressed.

When contacted, the mechanical engineer, Mr. V. Adinarayana, explained that it was during the constructional stage of events that many sub-contractors from both Ghana and Togo had to be engaged.

"Construction is once, but production is continuous. At the time there was the dire need to cross the river, and that was why we had to go in for those sub-contractors. Now that we are producing, we are no more in that situation", he pointed out.

Mr. Adinarayana also denied the allegation that foreign sub-contractors were allowed to evade tax, saying that whatever their tax obligations were, we deducted at source and paid to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Asked to tell the world the secret of their success, the mechanical engineer, who said he had been in the cement industry for two decades, hinted that his outfit laid more emphasis on quality and competitive pricing, rather than loud adverts on radio, TV and in newspapers.

On welfare, he said DCGL has not only provided potable water to the surrounding communities free of charge, but is sinking ¢1billion into the construction of football, basketball and volleyball pitches for recreational purposes.

The Chronicle gathered that full payment for the 50-acre land acquired by the company had been made since 2000, and that some six months ago, DCGL even went ahead to pay for another plot of land, where a power transmission substation had been sited, on behalf of the Volta River Authority (VRA).

This reporter noted, however, that many of the casual workers clearing dust at the main gate had no nose pads on, but the authorities explained that even though all safety gadgets had been provided, some workers, for reasons not clear, fail to put them on.

It is also noted that the company has put in place a safety committee, whose duty it is to educate and ensure that all safety rules are obeyed, but there seem to be lapses in that area.

A total of $15 million had been invested into DCGL, and the company runs a fully automated system, with a 100-man permanent workforce. Another 150 have been employed by loading contractors and work daily within the company premises.

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