Break Ghacem’s monopoly, contractors appeal to Govt

Break Ghacem’s monopoly, contractors appeal to Govt
Published: 10 April 2007

Some local contractors have decried the hike in the price of cement in the country, and appealed to the government to facilitate the formation of a third cement factory to break Ghacem’s monopoly.  
 
The president of the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors of Ghana (ABCECG), Mr. Samuel Obeng accused Ghacem of "hiding their frequent breakdowns and shortage of clinker to blame the energy crisis".  
 
At a press conference yesterday in Accra, he said, "We appeal to [the president] for a third cement factory operator to be sited in the Northern Region specifically at Buipe where there is abundant deposit of limestone which is a raw material for cement production to save the country of the scarce foreign exchange and losses due to the artificial shortages created by the monopoly of Ghacem".  
 
The association also encouraged investment in pozzolana cement, which has been used by other countries for over 300 years.  
 
The association’s aim, he said, is to prevnt Ghacem, which is 100% privately owned, one day packing off and leaving the country and consumers to their fate.  
 
"We are sorry to say after 50 years of independence, we still depend on just one type of cement and one major producer," Mr Obeng lamented.  
 
Commenting on shoddy work by some contractors leading to the collapse of buildings in the country, the ABCECG president appealed to government to amend the National Building Regulation, 1996 (L.I. 1630) to do away with the flaws in it.  
 
He said the regulation is limited to spatial, drainage and landscape issues but, does not mention sub-soil investigations.  
 
He warned that if pragmatic steps are not taken to check the way some contractors operate, more buildings will collapse.  
 
"Subsoil investigations must be conducted by qualified geotechnical engineers for two storeys high and above; approval by qualified and licensed architects and structural engineers. Strengthen the building inspectorate divisions of the assemblies; bodies responsible for the approval of building permits should have architects and engineers; the contractor should be a registered member of an identified group and before the building permit is issued the contractor should be identified," he said.