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Business News Thu, 31 Aug 2006

GHACEM donates cement to communities

Sunyani, Aug 31, GNA - Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, on Thursday appealed to the Ghana Cement Limited (GHACEM) to reduce the prices of cement to make the government's aim of providing affordable housing for majority of Ghanaians in the country a reality.

In this vein, he called on the company to increase the production of local raw materials from 25 to 50 per cent as a measure to cut down on the importation of raw materials that attract taxes and affect pricing of cement.

The Regional Minister made the appeal when the GHACEM Cement Foundation presented 7,000 bags of cement valued at about 472million cedis to 63 educational institutions in the northern sector of the country.

He thanked the management of GHACEM for the presentation and appealed to the beneficiary communities to use the cement for its intended purposes to avoid being blacklisted by GHACEM. Dr. George Dawson-Amoah, Strategy and Corporate Affairs Director of GHACEM, said the company intends to spread the award ceremonies to cover all the regions in order to bring the social development at the doorstep of communities.

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Nana Bosomaa Aso Nkrawiri II, the chief of Sunyani Traditional Area, who chaired the function, appealed to the government to reduce taxes on imported raw materials in order to reduce the production cost of cement.

Mr Morten Gade, the Managing Director of GHACEM, said the company has contributed to the economic development of Ghana by honouring its tax obligation. "Financial contribution to Ghana in terms of direct and indirect taxes has increased to nearly 27million dollars in the year 2005." He said GHACEM had to move from a state of monopoly in the early 2000 to fit into a new competitive business environment and this called for the adoption of strategic and operational measures to keep the company in competition. Mr Gade said the commissioning of its limestone quarry in the Eastern Region that produces 20 per cent of the raw material would help the company to substitute imported raw materials with local raw materials. He said this year GHACEM has earmarked 30,000 bags of cement valued at over 1.6 billion cedis for applicants to support community self-help projects.

Mr. Gade said the executive council of the cement foundation has put in place a monitoring team to ensure that beneficiaries use the cement for the intended purposes and would not hesitate to take action against any institution found to abuse this noble objective. "Such culprits will forever be blacklisted from this gesture from GHACEM."

Nana Prah Agyeinsaim, Chairman of the Cement Foundation, expressed disappointment about the failure of some communities to apply for the award although the company spent close to 10 million cedis in newspaper advertisement. Mr Patrick Tanguru expressed the communities' gratitude to the Cement Foundation and promised that the cement would be used judiciously for the development of their various communities. The beneficiary communities are located in the Northern Region, Upper West, Upper East, Brong-Ahafo and the Ashanti Region. 31 Aug 06

Source: GNA
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