Owners of Empire Cement Limited have refuted claims by Panbros Salt Industries Limited over an ongoing cement factory project on a parcel of land close to the salt factory.
Officials of the Panbros Salt factory had among other things alleged that Empire Cement Limited had forcibly taken part of their legally acquired concession for the cement project.
The company’s Managing Director, Mr. Michael Odartey-Wellington, told the press on September 15, 2020, that, although the company was given 5 acres of land, it has “taken an additional 17 acres of land which is the only area available for a planned expansion of Saltworks by Panbros to develop a cement factory.”
Mr. Odartey-Wellington further argued that because the location of the land is an environmentally protected Ramsar site, “the location of a cement factory in this area will harm the ecology of this sensitive area and destroy the ability of the company to produce large quantities of edible salt.”
But a statement signed by Archibold Ato Paitoo, owner of the Empire Cement Limited insisted that the land in question was given to the company by the allodia owners of the land.
“It is recalled that the James Town Stool leased a 5-acre land to me on 1st March 2014, for industrial purpose. The land was specifically leased by the late Nii Kojo Ababio V, James Town Mantse and Paramount Chief of Ngleshie Alata Traditional Area James Town, Accra with the concurrence of his elders. I also performed the necessary rites and made consideration in this regard.”
“Subsequently, I made a request for extra allocation of land for which the Stool obliged. Consequently, the Stool released an additional 13.74 acres of land to me for industrial purpose, specifically to expand the One District One Factory project. Hence, it is a misrepresentation that I have forcibly annexed 17 acres of land,” he said.
Mr. Paitoo also rejected claims that a cement factory and a salt factory cannot operate on the same land.
“With regard to the location of the cement factory, it is not true that a company cannot be sited near a salt mining company. Thanks to technology, the Empire Cement Ltd would operate with state-of-the-art equipment which are environmentally friendly,” he added.
Read the full statement below
RE: PANBROS SALT FACTORY TROUBLED OVER CONSTRUCTION OF CEMENT FACTORY NEAR ITS CONCESSION
I write this rejoinder in response to a story by Panbros Salt Company Ltd dated 15th September 2020, on the above – mentioned subject.
LEASE OF LAND
It is recalled that the James Town Stool leased a 5-acre land to me on 1st March 2014 for Industrial Purpose. The land was specifically leased by the late Nii Kojo Ababio V, James Town Mantse and Paramount Chief of Ngleshie Alata Traditional Area James Town, Accra with the concurrence of his elders, I also performed the necessary rites and made consideration in this regard.
Subsequently, I made a request for extra allocation of land for which the Stool obliged. Consequently, the Stool released an additional 13.74 acres of land to me for industrial purpose, specifically to expand the One District One Factory project.
Hence, it is a misrepresentation that I have forcibly annexed 17 acres of land. I cannot annex a land unless it is legally allocated by the rightful owners, in this case, the James Town Stool. It is inaccurate that the additional 13.74 acres leased by the Stool to me would in any way affect the operations and future plans of Panbros Company. Panbros currently has over 498 acres of land for their operation without any interference for which they are currently using less than 20 acres.
LOCATION OF FACTORY
With regard to the location of the cement factory, it is not true that a company cannot be sited near a salt mining company. Thanks to technology, the Empire Cement Ltd would operate with state-of-the-art machinery, which are environmentally friendly.
Permit me to cite examples such as the location of GHACEM Cement in Takoradi and Takoradi Flour Mills, also GHACEM Cement in Tema office and Ghana Agro Food Company Ltd (GAFCO), SOL Cement Ghana Ltd which is sited behind Tema New Town is closer to Tema Lube Oil, to mention a few. These companies have co-existed without any interference. I, therefore, wish to assure the authorities of Panbros Company and its environs that we would adopt and engage in first-class operational systems that are conducive to the environment and adaptive to human settlement.
ENGAGEMENT WITH MDAs
The company alleges that we have not engaged with the relevant authorities. We wish to state that our company is law-abiding and has duly engaged all relevant MDAs such as; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ministry of Trade and Industry, One District One Factory Secretariat, Ghana Investment Protection Centre, Weija Gbawe Municipal Assembly etc. It is, therefore, a misrepresentation that we have not engaged the relevant authorities or stakeholders pertaining to the establishment of a cement packaging factory to the extent that these authorities have the power to sanction unlawful and recalcitrant companies. We are mindful of this and following the required process.
EMPIRE CEMENT PACKAGING COMPANY LTD UNDER ONE DISTRICT ONE FACTORY
It is recalled that on 11th June, 2020 The Hon. Ishmael Ashitey Greater Accra Regional Minister, Hon. Tina Gifty Naa Ayeley Mensah Member of Parliament for Weija, Hon. Patrick Kumor MCE for Weija Gbawe Municipal Assembly and other dignitaries cut the sod for the construction of Empire Cement Ltd under the One District One Factory facility. The company would employ a total of 13000 direct workers and over 2000 indirect workers in the Dansoman- Weija- Kasoa- Gomoa- Effutu. We are poised to delivering quality and affordable cement for the ordinary Ghanaian.
COMMENTS BY DR. GEORGE DAWSON AHMOAH
It is regrettable, comments made by Rev Dr. George Dawson Ahmoah, Executive Secretary of the Chamber Cement Manufacturers denying knowledge of the establishment of Empire Cement Packaging Company Ltd. In his capacity as Head of Strategy and Corporate Affairs at GHACEM Ltd, he encouraged the monopoly enjoyed by GHACEM Ltd and fought the establishment of cement companies including Diamond Cement at Aflao. Again, he fought the establishment of SOL Cement a company I serve as Director and shareholder.
Hitherto, SOL Cement was the largest importer of cement to Ghana, affording competitive pricing for consumers with the strategy of introducing its products on the Ghanaian market in preparation for the establishment of the factory. Dr. Dawson Ahmoah fought both importers and intended establishment of cement companies for which his posture does not come as a surprise. Upon his retirement at GHACEM, he surreptitiously set up the Cement Manufacturers Association of Ghana and serves as the Executive Secretary to enable him to continue his machinations. Ghanaians should welcome more cement factories to boost competition to serve the ultimate benefit of consumers.
But for the establishment of more cement factories, the monopolist would be selling cement at GHS100 per bag, with its attendant excuse of shutting down for maintenance just to hike prices of cement.
I would support the establishment of more factories by all governments and well-meaning Ghanaians to boost competition in the market. Should there be more supply than demand we are surrounded by other countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone etc this would afford us the opportunity to export to improve our exchange rate and GDP.
There should not be any TRADE WAR what so ever, should the factory commissioned by the Vice President. H. E. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia at DAWA come to fruition, prices of cement would scale down to about 30%, which would grow the Ghanaian economy by 10%. Dr. Dawson Ahmoah keeps fighting this yet to be established a factory at DAWA till date.
It is trite that the allodia owners of the land are James Town Ngleshie Alata Stool. The stool has officially written to Panbros Company for the release of the land and a reminder sent on 14/09/2020, in effect all proper procedures per my own interactions and communications with Mr. Odartey Wellington the Managing Director of Panbros Ltd, keeps pressing for the factory to work on the 5 acres as he wait for the official letter from the stool which has been sent to him so in short, he knew very well that the siting of the factory is not injurious to his company factory. So we entreat him to have a positive mind for us all to support H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s struggle to have able-bodied youth employed but not to sabotage H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s ideas and goals. The land in question was lying idle for close to 20 years so in effect, that gave the original owners access to lease to me the same way a total of 498 acres were leased to Panbros for which only 20 acres is currently used for salt production.
I have been dealing with the right owners of the land and have no business subjecting to the whims and caprices of Panbros Company Ltd. His publication is accentuated with malice and must be disregarded.
It is refreshing to add, that in a letter dated 31 August 2020 James Town stool Ngleshie Alata stool introduced and confirms the lease granted me for the establishment for the 1D1F Empire Cement Company for the Good people of Ghana.
In conclusion, it is a misrepresentation that I have forcibly annexed land belonging to Panbros Company Ltd and that Empire Cement Ltd is engaged in an illegality. We are a law-abiding company and would adopt the required manufacturing system to deliver quality and affordable products to the Ghanaian people.
Kindly find attached confirmation from the stool for the release of a total of 18.74 acres to me for the establishment of Empire Cement Packaging Ltd under the One District One Factory Project.
Archibold Ato Paitoo