Mr Kofi Afari-Appiah, Western Regional Chairman of National Association of Cement Distributors has expressed concern about the frequent increases in the price of cement in Ghana.
He said between July 1 and December 4, this year the price of cement had been increased by 6,000 cedis by the management of Ghana Cement Company Limited (GHACEM).
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview on Tuesday, Mr Afari-Appiah said distributors expected the price of cement to remain stable due to the stability of the economy, but this had not been the case. He said the price of a 50kg bag of cement, which sold for 53,475 cedis in July, was now being sold at 59,225 cedis.
Mr Afari-Appiah therefore, appealed to Government to intervene and ensure a reduction in the price to protect the building industry.
He said anytime increases were announced, distributors of the product were accused of being responsible and noted that the low cost houses envisaged by Government could be greatly affected by the high cost of building materials.
Mr Afari-Appiah said taxes including Value Added Tax (VAT) and National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) increased simultaneously with any increases in the price of cement.
He said Ghanaians paid a total of 7,735 cedis as tax for each bag of cement.
Mr Anthony Biney, Secretary of the association said GHACEM could not supply the demands of consumers on daily basis.
He said more than a month now GHACEM had not been able to supply over 247,000 bags of cement that distributors had paid for.
Mr Graham R. Bell, Works Manager of GHACEM said the gearbox of the largest mill of the company had broken down and that had reduced production by 60 per cent.
He said management was working hard to rectify the problem.
A letter dated November 30, 2006 signed by Mr Dominique Mannie, Commercial Director of GHACEM and copied to distributors and bulk customers said "Due to the recent development in sea freight rates and world market prices of imported clinker, GHACEM announced increase in prices of cement with effect from December 4, 2006.