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Embrace local substitutes for cement production - Dep. Trade Minister urges manufacturers

BY: Kester Aburam Korankye
 Michael Okyere Baafi - Deputy Minister, Trade and Industry
Michael Okyere Baafi - Deputy Minister, Trade and Industry

A Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Michael Okyere Baafi, has called on local cement manufacturers to adopt local substitutes in the production of cement.

He said the use of local substitutes such as clay and limestone would not only reduce the cost of production and significantly reduce pricing but would also reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and imports.

“Clinker is the primary ingredient in cement manufacturing but it is imported and contains CO2, which is detrimental to the environment,” he said.

The deputy minister was speaking to local cement producers at a forum in Accra held on the theme: “Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions: The Role of Local Substitutes in Cement Manufacturing”.

The forum brought together professionals from the cement and concrete industries to discuss new trends and to discuss ways to make the cement and concrete industries more sustainable.

It was organised by the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), in partnership with the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) of Germany to identify the next steps towards attaining the goal of reducing the CO2 footprint of concrete products.


Participants in the forum discussed issues ranging from health and safety, best practices and reporting, thought leadership, resilience and how innovation could help make their businesses more sustainable.

Govt support

Mr Baafi assured cement producers that the government was ready to assist them with a conducive environment and testing facilities to help them to produce with local substitutes and stay profitable.

“The country’s construction industry is at a crossroads where cheaper and environmentally friendly alternative inputs are needed to make the industry sustainable,” he said.

He said in the government's quest to improve the construction industry, considered a key component of its industrialisation drive, it went into partnership with the German government to collaborate on testing and standards development for construction materials and chemicals.

Mr Baafi said through the partnership, local manufacturers would have the access to global standards to guide their production.

“The economic benefits of these substitutes cannot be underestimated. Clinker is not found in Ghana and every cement manufacturer imports, putting more demand on foreign currencies to pay for imports,” he said.

Standards

The Deputy Director-General in charge of Conformity Assessment at GSA, Clifford Frimpong, indicated that standards provided much of the technical detail and safety requirements to make a good policy work, including everything from test methods in the construction industry to good management practices and the removal of barriers to international trade.

He, therefore, called on cement manufacturers to adopt the GSA standards for their regulatory and policy activities as they were made in collaboration with them.

“It contains elements that will improve the country’s construction industry and propel the country into an important global economic player and protect its climate,” he said.

Background

The cement industry produces about 10 per cent of global man-made CO2 emissions of which 60 per cent is from the chemical process and 40 per cent from burning fuel.

A Chatham House study from 2018 also estimates that the four billion tonnes of cement produced annually account for eight per cent of worldwide CO2 emissions.