The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, has called on manufacturers of cement in Ghana to contribute to reducing the rate of unemployment in the country. He said they could do this by employing more hands to take up extra workload in their various factories instead of engaging "already hired hands" to work overtime.
According to Mr Ahenkorah, the significant profits cement companies in Ghana were making were being supported by overtime labour by hired hands and that even though the practice was not wrong it deprived the youth of employment opportunities.
"We cannot gloss over your contributions to job creation and the development of the economy, but one thing that came up in a study we conducted last year was that many cement companies posted quite significant profits on the back of overtime labour,” he said.
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry made the assertion at a customer awards dinner organised by Ciment de I'Afrique (CIMAF) at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra last Saturday, as part of activities marking two years of its existence in the Ghanaian cement market.
The awards ceremony was held to recognise and reward outstanding customers and distributors for their contributions towards the growth of the company in Ghana.
In all, 14 distributors and customers were awarded. The awards were in three categories, namely the "Most Promising", "Regional Awards" and "National Awards".
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St. Joseph's Services Limited, K.K Peprah Company Limited, Agyemens 09 Company Limited, Alpha Apollo Limited, Dobans Bee Enterprise and Gladys Great Provider were honoured in the Most Promising category.
In the regional awards category, Williben from the Ashanti Region, Daavi Bless Enterprise from the Greater Accra Region, Aspet from the Brong Ahafo Region, Onokwafo Building from the Eastern and Volta regions, K. Nyame Builders from the Western and Central regions, Anutaba from the Upper East Region and Jacob 78 from the Upper West Region emerged as the top seven awardees.
Four distributors achieved national awards; they were K. Ofori Limited, Estaaron Ventures, Prikwak Ventures and Nana. K Gyasi Company Limited.
Africa not a dumping site
The Area Director of CIMAF, Mr Naciri Mohammed, while acknowledging the efforts of the distributors in making the CIMAF cement brand a household name in Ghana in a space of two years, said Africa was not a dumping ground for inferior products and that CIMAF was in business to change that narrative, saying "you deserve quality and that has just been provided".
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, commended CIMAF for making "tremendous impact" in the building industry within a short period, and added his voice in opposition to the dumping of inferior building materials in the country, saying, "such tendency undercuts local industry”.
“Inferior building products had consequences for the building industry and are an obstacle to employment," he said.