Cape Coast, Sept. 22, GNA - The Central Regional Minister, Mr Isaac Edumadze, on Thursday cautioned that it would be an infringement on the fundamental rights of the poor, if a situation was created that made housing the preserve of only the rich.
He stressed that because housing was one of the three basic needs of mankind; there was the need to make it available for all at affordable cost.
The Minister, sounded the caution, in an address read on his behalf at the official opening of a Ghana Cement Company Limited (GHACEM) distribution centre at Cape Coast, the 10th in the country. He expressed the hope that cement, one of the main materials for construction, would be made affordable at all times and told the management of GHACEM that it had a big role to play in helping to ensure the provision of affordable housing in the country.
Mr Edumadze also tasked the company to integrate more local inputs in the manufacture of its products and urged it to collaborate with the Building and Road Research Institute and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to facilitate research into this venture.
He further called on the company to extend its educational workshops on the correct application of its products to the region and said the centre, would particularly enhance various development projects in the Region, including the construction of a new stadium. The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Kwadwo Affram Asiedu, in his address, noted that one of the priorities of the government and of his Ministry was to ensure the availability of goods and services at reasonable prices on the domestic market.
He said consequently, while following a prudent policy, greater emphasis had also been placed on local production, with the introduction of measures to stimulate demand for locally manufactured goods, since a strong and sound manufacturing sector was a necessary prerequisite for growth and poverty reduction.
Mr Affram Asiedu said it was in the light of this policy, that his ministry welcomed the provision of the cement distribution centre in the Region to make the product easily available and affordable.
He lauded the establishment of the GHACEM Foundation, which he described as being of tremendous assistance to rural communities and other vulnerable groups by providing finance and employment and helping to reduce poverty.
Mr Morten Gade, Managing Director, gave the assurance that the company would continue to produce and provide good quality cement at reasonable prices.
According to him, the company, which had so far supplied 26 million tonnes of cement, believed in constantly improving upon its products to meet, satisfy and exceed the requirements of its targeted markets such as local contractors, block manufacturers and the general public. He referred to the company's recently introduced re-formulated product called 'super rapid cement' and said it was designed to ensure "high early strength, good workability, better water retention and good bonding properties".
The Acting Secretary of the Central Regional Cement Distributors Association, Mr John Kuntu-Blankson, also urged the company to endeavour to price its products reasonably to ensure that they in turn sold them at affordable prices to consumers.
Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II, Omanhene of the Oguaa Traditional Area, also lauded the establishment of the centre, which, he said would improve infrastructure as well as serve the constructional needs of the people.