3 Cement factories defy GSA ban (VIDEO)
Three cement manufacturers in the Ashanti Region sanctioned for producing cement with inferior materials have been found to be operating despite a ban on their operations by the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA).
Xin An Safe Cement Ghana Ltd, Kumasi Cement Ghana Ltd and Uniceme Cement Ghana Ltd were banned last week from producing cement due to concerns over the quality of their products.
However, it has come to light that those manufacturers have continued to operate and are producing cement using the substandard materials.
The Director-General of the GSA, Professor Alex Dodoo, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that unannounced visits to the premises of the three companies by the GSA Enforcement Team showed that they had resumed full operations without authorisation.
He said substandard cement could pose serious risks to construction projects and public safety, stressing that it might not have the necessary strength and durability to withstand the demands of various construction applications.
As a result, trade standards officers from the GSA have been charged to take strong action against any cement manufacturer found to be operating in violation of the ban.
The GSA, Prof. Dodoo said, would issue directives to consumers and construction companies in the coming days to be vigilant and ensure that they were using certified and quality-assured cement for their projects.
He said it was essential for the authorities to take a swift and decisive action to address the issue and ensure that only high-quality cement was produced and used across the country.
“The safety and integrity of construction projects depend on it,” Prof. Dodoo said.
Prof. Dodoo mentioned that government’s policy is to make Ghana the destination of choice for foreign direct investment in Africa.
The GSA is therefore keen to facilitate manufacturing by all companies provided they follow the law.
Non-conforming companies and substandard products will dent the image of Ghana as a home of good quality goods and services, thereby destroying the reputation of the country.
The leader of the GSA enforcement team that visited the three factories, Victor Kwansa, told the Daily Graphic in a separate interview that some representatives of the offending companies threatened enforcement officers that they had approval from higher places to continue with their illegal operations.
“The team was sent to Kumasi on November 15 (this year) to check whether the companies had adhered to the authority's directives to cease production and all operations, but the team realised that there was active production and operations at all three cement factories and companies, namely Xin An Safe Cement Ghana Ltd, Uniceme Cement Ghana Ltd and Kumasi Cement Ghana Ltd, and all companies flagrantly disregarded GSA's directives,” Mr Kwansa said.
He said the team ensured that all production and operations, including bagging and loading of finished cement products, were stopped.
The team also prohibited the companies from engaging in any further activity without the authorisation of the GSA.
“However, just after a day of the GSA's operation, intelligence gathered and random unannounced visits to Xin An Safe Cement Ghana Ltd, Kumasi Cement Ghana Ltd, and Uniceme Cement Ghana Ltd showed that the companies had resumed full operations without authorisation from GSA, claiming that they were told to continue production by unknown persons of power,” Mr Kwansa said.
He said the GSA was gathering information and monitoring the companies for the appropriate actions to be taken against them.
“We will deal with the companies in accordance with the applicable laws, including arrests and prosecution, to safeguard the public and consumers from the proliferation and trade of substandard cement in Ghana,” he added.
Mr Kwansa said the use of substandard cement in building construction was a serious issue that could not be overlooked.
The consequences of using low-quality cement, he stressed, could have a far-reaching impact on the safety and integrity of buildings, as well as on the well-being of their occupants.
One of the most concerning hazards of using substandard cement, he added, remained the reduced structural integrity it provided.
“This could lead to potential structural failures and collapses, putting the lives of those inside the building at risk.
“Additionally, poor quality cement can result in an increased risk of cracks and leaks, compromising the building's waterproofing and leading to costly water damage repairs,” he added.