There are strong indications that the emergence of new cement companies in Ghana is beginning to result in the production of substandard cement and other cement products.
Information indicates that in order to beat competition and gain market share, some companies are producing far below the approved standards of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA).
Experts in the construction field believe the situation, if not quickly investigated and addressed by the GSA will see more buildings collapsing, particularly in the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and some parts of the north three regions.
Sources further reveal that these companies are targeting to flood these regions with the substandard cement due to their proximity to production plants, thereby benefitting from lower production cost and ultimately lower cement prices on the market.
Several high-rise buildings which played host to shops, hotels, offices and homes alike, have in recent times collapsed, killing people and destroying properties worth millions of Ghana cedis.
According to the approved standards, a good cement grade of 32.5R that is used for general construction works is expected to attain a minimum full strength of not less than 32.5MPa 28 days after testing.
However one cement company recently established in the Ashanti Region failed its strength development test and fell way below the minimum approved standard after an independent investigation was conducted.
Also, initial setting time of good cement is expected to be about 75 minutes after use, but the company in question is producing cement with a setting time of 247 minutes which is far below approved standards.
The fear remains having more structures collapsing in the near future, whiles producers of sub-standard cement and cement products make huge profits.
The cement industry in Ghana is fast growing following the emergence of new manufacturing companies such as Dangote, CIMAF, LarfargHolcim (CBI) and Xin-An Cement; with the existing Heidelberg’s Ghacem and Diamond Cement.
President Nana Akufo-Addo recently laid the foundation stone for the construction of a cement factory at the Tema Free Zones enclave to be operated by CBI Ghana and produce cement under the name Supacem.
In addition, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia cut sod for the construction of another cement factory under the one-district one factory initiative in the Dawa Industrial City in Accra.
The $30 million Ilam Cement factory, which is 90 per cent Iranian owned and 10 per cent Ghanaian owned is expected to be completed in two years.
Furthermore, the rise in cement companies is expected to bring stiff competition in the industry in the coming years and possibly force prices down due to the different technologies being used to produce the cement.
Author: Emmanuel Ohemeng/Kasapa News’ Editor