THE GOVERNMENT of Ghana will, by September this year, start saving about US $10 to $20 million as soon as a limestone deposit in the Eastern Region becomes operational, to supply limestone to GHACEM's factories for the production of cement locally.
With the support and co-operation of the government, GHACEM has secured a mining license to begin work on the limestone deposit in the Eastern Region.
This would certainly reduce the dependence on imported raw materials and freight rate as well as reduce production cost. It will also create more job openings for Ghanaian citizens and reduce balance of payment deficits.
Dr. George Dawson-Ahmoah, Marketing Director of Heidelberg Cement Group, announced this at the opening of the GHACEM Cement Academy Workshop in Kumasi.
The workshop aimed at equipping participants on basic raw material technology, material selection, specification and measurement. The rest are manufacturing & curing processes, basic actions to improve strength, durability, and quality of sandcrete blocks.
He said the company invested US $ 8 million into a new and modern equipment at the Tema and Takoradi factories in 2002, which investment had led to the introduction of a newly improved product known as "GHACEM Super Strength Portland Cement Class 42.5N", introduced on January 5, 2004. The new product was the focus of the workshop.
"Cement is a critical input into the building and construction industry, which is key to national development. It is upon this basis that GHACEM deems it very important to educate its customers on the proper application of cement in the industry," he stated. According to the Marketing Director, good GHACEM cement wrongly applied, would certainly not give a good product, hence the need to educate the stakeholders involved.
He noted, "GHACEM is not only committed to supplying quality cement but also making the product available in every region of the country", and mentioned Wa, Bolgatanga, Tamale and Sunyani as their current distribution outlets.
The rest are Kumasi, Koforidua, Hohoe, Winneba and Madina in Accra.
On contribution to the nation's economy, he said a total of $12 million had been contributed to the national coffers in 2003 in terms of taxes, fees, import duties and employment.
Dr. Dawson Ahmoah also disclosed that over 27 million tons of standard Portland Cement Class 32.5N had been imported into the country since 1967 to ease problems of cement availability.
The chairman for the occasion, Oheneba Adusei Poku, Akyempemhene of Kumasi, thanked the management of GHACEM for their immense contribution to the economy. He stressed the need for a thorough education on the use of cement in the Ashanti Region since it places second in the construction of buildings in the country.
He identified wrong application of the product (cement) as a "waste of money" by private developers and urged the participants to equip themselves with the education of the "Supper Strength Portland cement" being introduced to minimize cost of building.
Nana Owusu Ansah, the Director of Owusu Ansah & Son Limited and Benkumhene of the Abodom Traditional area in Ashanti, on behalf of the company's distributors described GHACEM as a "helper of the nation."