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09.08.2005 Business & Finance

Government to establish salt terminal - Bartels

GNA

Accra, Aug. 9, GNA - Government is determined to establish a salt terminal in the country to support the marketing efforts of salt producing companies to export their product to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and beyond.

The Government is also forging strategic links with major world salt producing countries like Brazil, Venezuela and Spain to facilitate the acquisition of requisite technology and technical know-how. Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiative (PSI), on Tuesday said experts of international repute in the salt industry were being engaged to assist in the preparation of model production and marketing plans to serve as blueprint for salt production units.

These were contained in a speech read on his behalf at a workshop on Modern Solar Salt Production Technology in Accra. Mr Moses Dani Baah, Deputy Minister of the Sector, read the speech.

The workshop, the second to be organised by the Ministry within a week, was to create a forum for participants to share experiences and deepen appreciation on the dynamics of the industry following an industry audit study and recommendations last September by the world renowned salt expert Hector Tervel.

Mr Bartels noted that the annual production of salt in Ghana had remained around 250 tonnes, just about 10 per cent of the natural potential.

Compared to Senegal, which produces 350,000 metric tonnes of salt annually, Ghana stands to gain most in the West African salt market which imports 60 per cent of its annual salt requirement of 1.5 million tonnes mainly from the European Union, Brazil and Namibia.

Beyond the ECOWAS Sub-Region, the Economic and Monetary Union of Central Africa offers another market opportunity of 750,000 tonnes of salt annually, which is also imported from the European Union, Brazil and Namibia.

Mr Bartels said the PSI on salt was meant to systematically address identified constraints - obsolete technology, lack of local expertise and poor production methods, lack of logistics and poor industry infrastructure, economies of scale, cumbersome land acquisition and land tenure administration, low investment and lack of capital. It is also to transform the industry to an internationally competitive one with an enhanced capacity for the production of salt particularly for the export market.

Consequently, six production zones spanning the entire coastline have been identified as: Keta/Ketu District in the Volta Region; Dangme East and Dangme West and Weija in the Greater Accra Region; Gomoa, Awutu-Effutu and Mfantseman, Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (KEEA) in the Central Region and the Ahanta West District in the Western Region.

Mr Bartels said to make the programme to transform the industry effective, financing to support secretariat activities and production activities of companies would be syndicated, in addition to capacity building activities to improve managerial and technical skills and to facilitate technology transfer.

Additionally, an industry database, resource and advisory centre would be established for the acquisition and dissemination of relevant industrial information for the benefit of industry operators.

Mr Bartels said after the effective implementation of the recommendation the production of salt would increase by 40 per cent, adding that the production base could be further expanded in the medium term up to one million tonnes if existing salt works put their idle facilities to active use.

He called on banks and other financial institutions to give the necessary support to deserving companies.

Mr David Oppong, Co-ordinator on PSI on Salt, said it was necessary to harmonise practices to make the product pass international requirements on the large export market, citing non-iodisation of salt as an instance that could warrant rejection. 09 Aug. 05

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