President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday laid the foundation stone for the commencement of the construction of a state-of-the-art cement plant at the Tema Free Zones enclave near Accra.

The USD 55 million grinding plant, to be operated by CBI Ghana, would take a year to complete. It would produce and supply premium cement under the brand name; Supacem, for the construction industry in Ghana.

President Akufo-Addo, in remarks before the ceremony, said his government would continue to provide regulatory support and ensure the business-friendly environment that would engender competitiveness to enable the cement industry to thrive.

He said the growing competition in the vibrant cement manufacturing sector was leading to healthy competition that was benefiting consumers.

“My government will, on its part, continue to ensure that the sectors get the regulatory support and the business-friendly environment it needs to thrive,” the President assured.

President Akufo-Addo stressed the need for the success of the industry because cement formed the backbone of infrastructure development that contributed a quarter of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product.

The demand for cement, the President said, was guaranteed to increase tremendously as the country’s urban populations increased, and the anticipated rise in government and private sector infrastructure development.

As a result, the local manufacture of cement would help create jobs and reduce the drain on Ghana’s foreign exchange reserves from having to import cement, the President observed.

President Akufo-Addo congratulated the Board, Management and Staff of CBI Ghana, and their partner, Lafarge-Holcim, for taking the decision to invest in Ghana.

He noted that laying the foundation stone for the cement grinding factory signals the beginning of a long-term partnership between Ghana and CBI.

The President stated that since assuming the reins of government seven months ago, his administration had taken the necessary measures to correct the economic difficulties of the country, with some of the macroeconomic figures beginning to show some improvement.

“We will know we are making real progress when the improved figures lead to an improved business atmosphere and more investment that lead to the creation of jobs,” he stated.

“I take it as a veritable vote of confidence in the steps we are taking to make private sector flourish, that a company, like CBI, has taken the decision to enter the economic space of our country.”

With the CBI, being the latest entrant to the cement sector, President Akufo-Addo was optimistic that the company would diversify the sector, promote healthy completion and improve product standards.

He said government was considering the use of concrete for constructing durable roads, envisaging a huge demand for cement soon.

The President reminded the company of the need to protect the environment and asked them to observe the highest environmental standards required of a company of that stature.

Mr Paul Albrectch, Chairman of the CBI Ghana, assured that the company’s international expertise would be brought to bear on the operation of the plant, and with it, the transfer of technology for the benefit of Ghana.

He said the company would produce and supply high-quality Supacem cement to Ghanaian builders and stabilize cement supply for all required grades in Ghana.

The company is expected to employ some 400 people when it starts operations next year.

Source: GNA/Newsghana.com.gh