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20.07.2005 Business & Finance

Review import duties on raw materials of cement - MP


Accra, July 20, GNA-Mr Eric Opoku, NDC MP for Asunafo South on Wednesday called on the Government to review its decision of imposing five percent import duty on raw materials for the production of cement. Mr. Opoku said it was the dream and desire of every Ghanaian to own a house but the price of cement, which is the main ingredient keeps on skyrocketing in recent times.

Mr. Opoku said this in a statement on the floor of the House on affordable housing and prices of cement in the country. "The worrying aspect is that the price is higher in the rural areas and countryside than in most urban areas."

"A bag of cement sells at 51,000 cedis in Accra, 70,000 cedis in Wa, 75,000 in Bolgatanga and 65,000 cedis in Kukuom in the Asunafo South District.

He said the variation in prices across the regions is because of transportation cost added to the retail prices.

"How can people in the rural areas who are suffocating under the shackles and tentacles of abject poverty afford these high prices of cement."

He said the astronomical prices is as a result of the VAT/NHIL/ECOWAS levy and import duties, which alone account for about 19 per cent of the total retail price.

"Other charges on imported raw materials for the production of cement in Ghana include customs clearing fees, processing fees and many others.

"We need to reduce the galloping prices of cement if we are to assure our people of the opportunity to acquire and build houses." Mr. Collins Dauda, NDC - Asunafo South said the prices of cement is of concern to all Ghanaians and has affected housing and other infrastructural projects.

"A three-classroom block which cost around 90 million cedis some few years ago now cost about 300 million cedis for the same structure." He said the increase in the price of cement has affected road projects such as culverts and bridges since taxes were slapped on the raw materials of cement.

"In 2000 when prices of cement was around 26,000 cedis the NPP government which was then in opposition lambasted the NDC but now the price is over 60,000 cedis so what are they going to say about that."

Captain Nkrabea Effah Dartey (Rtd), NPP Berekum said it is about time people start using local raw materials for construction because they are cheaper and readily available.

Mr Lee Ocran NDC, Jomoro, said almost all the prices of other building materials such as wood, iron rods have also increased, and there was the need for the government to listen to the plight of the Ghanaian.