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Majority backs Legislative Instrument seeking to regulate cement prices

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By: Edzorna Francis Mensah

The Majority in Parliament is said to be disappointed in the Minority for kicking against a Legislative Instrument aimed to ‘arrest’ cement price.

The Legislative Instrument (L.I) laid on Tuesday, July 2, 2024 which is seeking to regulate the prices of cement hit the rock when some members of the Minority raised the legality of it.

In respect to the concerns, Speaker Alban Bagbin advised Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T. Hammond to withdraw the Legislative Instrument (L.I) on cement price regulation.

This advice follows constitutional arguments raised by former Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu.

Haruna Iddrisu has questioned the legal mandate of the Ghana Standards Authority to regulate prices in an already competitive market with more than four cement dealers in the same market.

He said, “the Ghana Standard Authority Act 2022, Act 10 (78), section 80 uses the word sale, and advertising, this is pricing. Do they have a mandate to regulate based on the 80? That is constitutional. The Ghana Standards Authority is an institution to regulate standards not pricing. Mr Speaker, Ghana cannot go this low.”

Following arguments from both sides of the House, the Speaker advised the Trades Minister to withdraw the L.I, “and so, I will advise, I’m not directing, that the sponsors of the instrument should take a second look at it. And if possible, withdraw and capture it in the appropriate language. To come within the statutory limits that we have, it’s just advice, it’s not a directive.”

Meanwhile, the Majority Leader, Alexander Kwamina Afenyo at the news conference on Thursday, 4th July, 2024 rejected the Speakers’ advice and said, they are disappointed in the manner in which the Minority has handled the issues surrounding LI.  

Prices from the dealers, as checked by GBC Ghana Online, revealed a sharp jump in prices from last week to this week, a situation that kept many buyers wondering. Just last week of May 2024, cement was going averagely for, GH₵85 to GH₵90 depending on the brand and the ratio, but as of June 4, 2024, the price had moved to about GH₵110, according to dealers at Pokuase.

According to one dealer, Dzata cement of 42R is now GH₵108, Cimaf of 42R GH₵107 and the same brand of 32R is going for GH₵87, and Ghacem is said to be leading the market with Ghacem cement pegged at GH₵110 for 42R.

Further checks from other sources also say Diamond cement is sold at GH₵75 and GH₵85 whereas Dangote is between GH₵92 and GH₵94.

Trade Minister calls for immediate halt to cement price increases
Minister of Trade and Industry, Kobina Tahir Hammond

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Kobina Tahir Hammond, called for the immediate reversal in the recent increases in the prices of cement to ease pressure on Ghanaians, but it seems this has fallen on deaf ears, or perhaps the Minister has ignored the root causes of the price hikes.

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