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General News Fri, 30 Nov 2001

Let's take salt industry serious

The salt industry was not being taken seriously but it held much more promise than the country's traditional exports, Mr Kofi Poku-Adusei, NPP-Bekwai, told Parliament on Thursday.

"The prices of our traditional exports like cocoa and gold are fixed on the international market. They are outside our control, but prices of exports like salt are fixed by the price mechanism, the free forces of demand and supply."

The member, who was delivering a statement on the salt industry in Parliament, said "our economy needs vigorous diversification if any meaningful headway is to be made towards a long term solution".

"The commodity (salt) has the potential to generate foreign exchange for Ghana. Nigeria, for example, imports over 700 million dollars worth of salt annually from Australia. If our industry is well developed, we could attract these earnings."

He said: "Salt could be processed into caustic soda, the basic raw material for soap and other pharmaceutical products, which we now import."

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He said it had been proven that salt could be put to 16,000 different uses and this made it imperative that any country with the resource needed to give it all the attention it deserved.

"Government's declaration of the Golden Age of Business underscores our commitment as a nation to support initiatives to strengthen the private sector as the engine of growth to develop this resource."

Mr Amos Buertey, NDC-Ada, said if the salt industry were to develop, old ways of winning the commodity must stop.

He, however, cautioned that any attempt to take over rich salt ponds and fields without the consent of the traditional owners would misfire.

Mr K. A. Kyeremanteng, NPP Afigya Sekyere East, said Ghana could invoke the ECOWAS Protocol and short distance between the country and Nigeria to take care of their salt requirements.

Source: GNA
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