Date: 2016-08-19

GHACEM, the leading Cement Manufacturing Company in Ghana and a prestigious member of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), has won the highest awards, the Overall Best Industrial Company of the Year of the Ghana Industry Awards for 2015.

GHACEM was cited for providing invaluable service to the infrastructure sector and tremendous contributions to the development of the national economy. The GHACEM Foundation has supported infrastructure development in the education and health sectors. Again, the company has implemented a number of special projects, including limestone mining for cement production. These initiatives altogether have reached more than 3,000 communities across Ghana.

The company has consistently supported the National Farmers’ Day activities since its inception. The company has also encouraged local content in the mining of limestone and the local production of cement bags. GHACEM has consistently supported the national road safety award. As an environmentally-minded company, GHACEM has encouraged the promotion of biodiversity at the quarry sites through the institution of the Quarry Life Awards programme. Apart from this, the company has also instituted a tree nursery project for planting along the boundaries of GHACEM’s quarry to prevent any airborne particles in the environment. The company continues to contribute to the economic development in Ghana by expanding its investment.

For these initiatives and immense contributions to the economy, AGI conferred on GHACEM the Company the Overall Best Industrial Company of the Year at the awards ceremony staged at the State House Banquet Hall in Accra. The theme of the awards night was “Patronising Made-in-Ghana Goods to Build Strong Industries.” The President of the AGI, Mr James Asare-Adjei, opened the event by stating: “This year marks our fourth awards ceremony and our passion to reward the efforts of our hardworking industrialists has never been in doubt or waned. It is for this reason that we are once again celebrating the achievements of our illustrious industrialists who have worked tirelessly throughout a rather difficult year. While roots of the AGI Industry Awards lie deep in advocating for building capacities for local businesses, it is also committed to a spirit of excellence and a drive for diversity and innovation in these challenging times in rapidly changing global economy.”

Mr. Asare-Adjei further stated: “This year has been full of macro-economic challenges which industrialists had to contend with: the energy crises, the element of cross subsidy in the electricity pricing mechanism (i.e. industry subsidising residential power users), currency volatility, high cost of doing business, uncompetitiveness of Ghanaians business in export markets, just to mention a few.” Irrespective of these challenges, industries have kept their heads above water in a bid to survive, with some excelling. Our weak macro-economic fundamentals have been a major concern throughout the year. AGI does not believe that inflation targeting, which has become a key policy tool for the Central Bank, results in persistent increase in policy rates, now 26%, has worked. This has always led to increasing cost of doing business in the country; and hence unattractive to investors, both foreign and local.

The AGI President said the theme of the event is so relevant and appropriate since it is obvious that local industries are experiencing stiff competition from imported products. “In recent years, industry has come under intense pressure from the influx of imports, even though some of these imports are readily available in our markets. To worsen the situation, most of us have developed sophisticated tastes for foreign products that occupy prominent shelf space in our shopping malls. As Ghanaians, if we do not nib this growing trend in the bud, I am afraid our local manufacturing industries risk becoming endangered,” he said.

He continued: “For this reason, AGI is playing a leading role in the government’s agenda to promote the consumption of Made-in-Ghana goods and services with the aim to increase the production capacities of Ghanaian industries, as well as create employment opportunities, which will eventually improve the living standards of Ghanaians. AGI therefore calls on Government to rein in institutions for the Made-in-Ghana campaign to succeed. The success of the campaign will require the active co-operation of all stakeholders, and hence Ministries, Metropolitan, Municipal Assemblies, Departments and Agencies (MMDAs) should give priority to Made-in-Ghana goods in their procurement. It is our hope that you would be spurred on by this recognition to continue improving your operations and providing for Ghanaian good quality Made-in-Ghana goods and Services.”

In a speech read on behalf of the Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon. Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, stated that “This award is being organised at a time that Global Industrial competitiveness is at the highest levels. Today, Ghanaian industries are being competed at all levels and from different countries throughout the world. Even within the ECOWAS sub-region, competition is becoming keener and keener. It presupposes that Government has no choice than to initiate and implement policies that aims at improving the business environment and making industries more competitive. It is for this reason that the Government of Ghana has over the past couple of years implemented policies with the view to laying a solid foundation for economic growth and helping industry to thrive.”

Hon. Dr. Spio-Garbrah said the sub-regional and international levels, the government, as part of ECOWAS, has signed on to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union with the view to helping to create market opportunities for Member states in Europe, and taking advantage of technology and other opportunities under the EPA.

“Within the ECOWAS, the Common External Tariff (CET) is about to take off in full swing, and here again, I urge our industrial exporting companies to study the CET and harness the opportunities associated with this policy. The Ministry admits that this year has been particularly challenging for businesses, especially with respect to currency volatility, inadequate power supply, access and cost of credit. As a result, growth has been slow for the industrial sector, especially the manufacturing sector, over the years and the Ministry, for that matter, is concerned about that. The way forward therefore requires active government support for the industrial sector.  

As a Ministry, we are not oblivious to the great challenges ahead of us, and we need to chart a structured path for the growth of the private sector,” he said.