A ?4.8 billion salt refinery plant was yesterday commissioned at Prampram in the Damgbe West District.
The plant owned by Popular Foods West Africa, a division of Unilever Ghana Limited, in partnership with El-Din Salt Mining Company, will produce refined and iodised salt under the brand name “Annapurna” salt.
It has the capacity to produce 25,000 tons of iodised salt a year.
Mrs Naadu Mills, wife of the Vice-President, who commissioned the plant, urged manufacturers to intensify efforts to make the salt industry a major foreign exchange earner.
She said Ghana has one of the best coast lines for salt production and with the requisite investment and increase productivity, it can become a major salt exporter in the ECOWAS sub-region.
Mrs Mills also urged manufacturing companies to forge partnership with small and micro industries to help them grow and benefit from technology transfer and management skills.
She urged Ghanaians to cultivate the habit of using locally produced goods, and said the country spends a lot of foreign exchange to import salt and other commodities to the detriment of the economy.
She commended El-Din Salt Mining Company and Unilever for their initiative and urged the public to patronise iodised salt.
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Commander P.M.G Griffiths (rtd) stressed the need to increase the country’s investment attraction for an accelerated socio-economic development.
He called for closer partnership between government and the private sector to make for dialogue and the development of common initiatives to address the economic constraints facing the country.
Mr Ishmael Yamson, Chairman of Unilever Ghana Ltd, said Sub-Sahara Africa consumes about six million tonnes of salt, crude and refined, adding that the demand for salt in West Africa is in the region of 1.4 million tonnes with Nigeria alone consuming about 750,000 tonnes of that.
“If Ghana can supply the needs of Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire alone, we can earn about US$125 million per annum”, he said.
Mr Yamson expressed concern about litigation among the major salt companies and called for the settlement of the Songhor Lagoon dispute to open the way for investors to come in.