Electrochem’s Entry Into The Salt Industry Would Be Very Transformative To The Entire Ecosystem- Trade Minister
The minister for Trade and Industry Hon. Kobina Tahir Hammond has said, the Electrochem’s Salt Mining Industry which has been commissioned by the President H:E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo -Addo has the potential to transform the entire ecosystem as well as the economy.
The plant, which is already in operation and producing at 99.99 per cent purity, has become the biggest in Africa, larger in acreage than the Walvis Bay of Namibia, which is about 16,700 acres hitherto known to be the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Production is expected to ramp up to around two million tonnes per annum by 2027 and the number of employees is also expected to increase to 7,000 with the completion of the second phase.
To obtain a social licence to operate the salt mine which has been the subject of rancor and litigation for decades, Electrochem has provided communities in the catchment area with facilities and amenities including an Astro turf football field, roads, and advanced GH¢3 million interest-free loans to traders and businesses. Electrochem has also provided scholarships, health clinics, schools, and potable water for the communities.
The Minister, who accompanied the President to the event, noted that the huge regional and global demand of salt for industrial uses as well as human and animal consumption makes it a highly strategic resource which requires significant investments to harness in a commercially viable but environmentally and socially sustainable way.
According to him, the private sector has over the years shown investment interest in salt mining and processing, but these companies are either defunct or currently non-operational due to difficulties encountered at each stage of implementation. He stated that the commissioning also marks a major transition into large scale salt mining and processing to enable Ghana begin to realize its rightful place as a major salt producer.
The Minister was however elated that ElectroChem, after experiencing some challenges and setbacks in operations within the area, has managed to invest $88 million in this state-of the-art salt washing plant and its ancillary infrastructure and facilities. “Progress has been relatively fast considering that the ElectroChem industrial site, which was completed in February this year, took you just two years to construct” he said.
He took the opportunity to appeal to the chiefs and opinion leaders as well as the youth to adopt the project and support it as an important launchpad into the modernization of salt mining and processing in Ghana adding that this will be most beneficial in terms of attracting allied industries which require salt as the basic raw material, to invest, locate and create the much needed jobs in this area.
Electrochem Ghana Limited, the operators of the salt mine, are a subsidiary of the McDan Group of Companies and a wholly Ghanaian owned company registered in 2017. It is strategically positioned to leverage over two decades of expertise and resources to invest in and maximize returns from the salt and chemical industries.
The Company has secured a concession of 41,000 acres at Ada Songor to produce 1,000,000 metric tons of salt per annum to supply to local and export markets. In the medium term, the output will be increased substantially and part of it used to feed a chlor-alkali plant to produce caustic soda and other chemical products.
Ghana, in collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Embassy in Ghana and the U.S. Commercial Service, has successfully launched its maiden Business expo in Accra. The Expo brought together key industry stakeholders, entrepreneurs, government officials and business leaders from both nations to explore opportunities, exchange ideas and forge strategic partnership.
The two-day program under the theme: Leveraging U.S-Ghana Trade Relations for Growth and Prosperity” is aimed at providing a platform to foster bilateral trade collaborations and economic growth between both nations. The opening ceremony was graced by high level delegations from the U.S led by the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, H.E Marisa Lago, the Ambassador H.E Virginia E. Palmer and Ms. Ayesha Bedwei Ibe President of the American Chamber of Commerce.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Kobina Tahir Hammond is his speech reiterated the Ghana’s efforts in stepping up support for the private sector, both domestic and foreign, to enhance production and export capacity, particularly in the manufacturing sector, with notable opportunities for export into the U.S. market, such as Horticulture, Textiles and Garments products. He said, government, in collaboration with industry experts, has formulated a Garments and Textiles Manufacturing policy and incentive framework to attract and facilitate targeted investment into the industry. This Policy according to him, will be announced before the end of 2023.
He added that the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement leads to removal of tariff restrictions on trade across member countries, addresses some of the non-tariff barriers that have restricted trade between Member States of the African Union, and makes it easy to situate industrial production in different countries within Africa.
“The target market for the AfCFTA is estimated to constitute some 1.3 billion people, projected to rise to 1.7 billion by 2030, out of which about 600 million are the middle class. Aggregate GDP is estimated at 3.4 trillion United States Dollars and growth in intra-African trade is projected to increase by 52.3%” he added.
He therefore urged that concrete business deals including but not limited to some sectors would be initiated during the two-day events which is expected to further strengthen commercial relations between U.S. and Ghanaian businesses.
In her welcome address, Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Virginia E. Palmer, appreciated Ghana’s continuous efforts in promoting bilateral trade with the United States for the past decades. She stated that the trade relationship between both nations keeps improving from time to time. “Last year, our bilateral trade in goods totaled $3.7 billion, and our bilateral trade in services is growing as well. Our trade relationship and the more than 100 American companies active in the Ghanaian market support jobs and economic prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic. We look forward to the many new business relationships and connections the U.S.-Ghana Business Expo will generate.” She said.
The Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, H.E.Marisa Lago in her statement noted that the government of Ghana has enormously promoted business grown and showcase tremendous support in promoting trade and investment between Ghana and US for several which has led to growth in bilateral relation.
The Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Professor Victor Kwame Agyemang Esq. has called for collaboration between the Private and the Public Sector to push forward government’s agenda of increasing trade in Africa. This, he said, would help in addressing several challenges that the continent is currently facing in relation to trading activities.
He noted that the role of the Public Sector connot be over emphasized in supporting the government to achieve it desired goals leading to the creation of descent job among the youth within the Sub-Region
The Chairman said this in an address at the 2023, United Nations /African Union Public Service Day under the theme: Building An African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) Ready Public Sector. This year’s event was marked in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the National AFCFTA Coordinating Office and other stakeholders in the Public Service.
The Kenyan High Commissioner, H.E. Eliphas Barine who was the Guest of Honour for the occasion took the opportunity to urged government to create the enabling environment for the successful implementation of AFCFTA. He said Africa need a Public Service Sector that has esteemed African Identity with the opportunities and privileges to deliver its mandate within the African Continent. According to him, this would go a long way to eradicate unemployment and poverty in the sub-region.
In a statement, the Technical Advisor from the Office of the Senior Minister, Mr. Robert Poku Kye said a single market with free movement will boost African business in the global market and that government is ready to provide the needed environment to achieve it desired goals in the successful implementation of AFCFTA.
The United Nations/African Union Public Service Day is an annual event celebrated on 23rd June, established through UN Resolution 57/277 and adopted by the African Union Conference of Heads of States. The Public Services Commission (PSC) has actively been involved in coordinating the celebration in collaboration with other Public Sector Organisations. The celebration aims to reflect on the values and virtues of Public Service to Society and acknowledge the contribution of Public Service Institutions to national development.
The Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon. Kobina Tahir Hammond has sworn in a seven member Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSME) Grant Committee in Accra to oversee the approvals or rejections of grant requests from Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) applying for various Grant Programmes under the World Bank funded Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP) and implemented by the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA). The GETP is part of the government’s initiative to promote private investments and firm growth in non-resource-based sectors. That is, deployment of Technical Assistance and Grants (for the most qualified businesses) outside the extractive oil and gas sectors.
The Ghana Enterprises Agency (an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry) is one of the Technical Implementing Agencies (TIAs) implementing the Sub-component 3.2 of the GETP and is responsible for the implementation of the Project’s flagship programme (the SME High Growth Programme), and other Technical Assistance and Grant Programmes of the Ghana Economic Transformation Project.
The Grant Committee will have oversight over four Technical Assistance (TA) and Grant Programmes. The first of the four TA and Grant Programmes is called the SME High Growth Programme. This is the flagship Programme under the GETP targeting High Growth Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to support productivity and competitiveness enhancing initiatives by such firms to accelerate their growth. The second Programme is dubbed Youth in MSME Programme – targeting Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) owned by young people between the ages of 18 – 35 years. The third is the Women MSME Programme. This Programme is exclusively for female-owned enterprises ranging from Micro to Medium sized firms. The final TA and Grant Programme is called PWD Enterprise Support Programme and is set up for only Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as well as startups owned by Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) or firms having most of their employees being PWDs.
The mandate of the Committee is to grant final approval for grant recommendations submitted for their reviews and to proffer reasons for rejecting any grant requests. The inauguration and swearing-in of the Committee was necessitated by the dictates of the Project Implementation Manual which requires the set-up of the Committee.
The Minister tasked the Grant Committee to undertake their duties dispassionately, fairly and with an open mind.
The Chairperson of the Committee thereafter expressed the appreciation of the members for the opportunity given them by the Minister and promised to work diligently to achieve the desired Project Development Objective of the Ghana Economic Transformation Project.
Reform the WTO to make developing countries adequately benefit from the multilateral trading system – K.T. Hammond
Ghana’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon Kobina Tahir Hammond, is calling for an enhanced capacity for developing countries to enable them participate effectively in WTO negotiations and thereby benefit from the Multilateral Trading System. The Minister also wants the restoration of a fully functional two-tier dispute settlement mechanism i.e. Panels and the Appellate Body to give the multilateral trading system (MTS) the needed predictability and certainty.
Hon K.T Hammond made the proposals when he met with the Director-General of the WTO, H.E. Dr. Ngozi Okonja-Iweala, on the occasion of her working visit to Ghana as part of her maiden African tour which includes countries like Cote d’ Ivoire, Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.
Thanking the Director General for choosing Ghana as her first point of call on her African tour, the Minister noted that the decision reinforces Ghana’s credentials as the centre of African Commercial Diplomacy, in view of Ghana’s hosting of the Secretariat of AfCFTA. He congratulated her for being the first African, and the first woman, to assume the position.
Dr. Okonja-Iweala used the opportunity to urge entrepreneurs to take advantage of the prevailing good environment for e-commerce and digital trading, as Ghana is far advanced of its peers on the continent in that space.
She appealed to the Government and particularly the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to take urgent steps to ratify the new regulations on fisheries trade for member countries, noting that doing so will go a long way to benefit the larger population that depend on the fishing industry for their livelihoods.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) was established in January 1995 as an Intergovernmental Organisation to regulate international trade with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. It has a membership of 164 countries.
The Minister of Trade and Industry , Hon K.T Hammond has entreated government ministries, departments and agencies as well as the general public to patronize locally assembled vehicles to help the local firms to sustain and scale up production, generate revenue, and create more employment opportunities for the citizenry.
The Minister made the remarks when he paid a working visit to some vehicle assembling plants that have taken advantage of the Ghana Automotive Development Policy under the Government’s Industrial Transformation Agenda to set up in the country.
The visit, which was to enable the Minister who assumed office bately a month ago, to familiarize himself with the activities and challenges of enterprises within the purview of the Ministry, saw the Minister and his team visit the Toyota Tsusho Manufacturing Company Ltd. The company is into the assembling of Toyota Hilux and Suzuki vehicles, with a current daily production capacity of four (4) vehicles.
The company was commissioned by President Akufo-Addo in June 2021 and currently employs about 58 Ghanaians. It has since its commissioning produced 600 Toyota Hilux and 100 Suzuki vehicles.
The Minister and his team also visited the Nissan Assembling Plant in Tema, which produces Nissan, Foton and Peugeot vehicles. It has the capacity to produce 3000 vehicles annually. It currently has 59 employees and produces three (3) vehicles daily.
In a related development, the President of the Republic, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, will be commissioning the Rana Motors and Metal Engineering Ltd. Assembling Plant at Amasaman in the Ga West Municipality of the Greater Accra region on Tuesday, May 02, 2023.
The Plant will roll-out the first generation of KIA vehicles proudly Assembled-in-Ghana. These will be the exact same vehicles manufactured, certified and traded globally by KIA Motor Corporation of Korea, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of KIA vehicles.
Hon K.T. Hammond has been visiting some Agencies under the Ministry of Trade and Industry as part of his first week in office. According to the Minister, who admits that the Ministry is a very technical one, the visitation is part of efforts to make him appreciate at first hand, the structure and internal workings of the Agencies, programmes and activities they are currently undertaking, challenges being encountered, and how his leadership can best aid the successful implementation of their mandates.
The Minister, accompanied by the Chief Director of the Ministry, Mr. Patrick Yaw Nimo, first visited the Ghana Enterprises Agency, the agency responsible for implementing policies and programmes to nurture and spur the growth of micro, small and medium scale enterprises.
He commended the Management of the Agency, especially its Chief Executive, Mrs. Kosi Yankey Ayeh for coming up with attractive programmes such as the “Young Africa Works Programme”, “Enterprises Development Project”, YouStart”, among other programmes which have been able to attract funding from development partners such as the World Bank, among others and thus taking some financial pressures from central government.
At the Ghana Standards Authority, the Minister entreated management to create a congenial and people-centered environment that will encourage staff to feel at ease in coming to work so as to be able to give off their best. He also called on them to ensure that proper standards are put in place and enforced for Ghanaians to get value for money for products purchased, and also to enable Ghanaian companies take advantage of opportunities such as the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
The Minister also visited the offices of the Ghana Free Zones Authority, the Ghana International Trade Commission (which aims at addressing unfair trade practices such as dumping, and providing appropriate remedies and sanctions where necessary). His last point of call was the National Coordination Office of the African Continental Free Trade Area that seeks to provide the needed assistance to Ghanaian companies to gain market access to African markets, especially as Ghana has invested heavily to be able to host the secretariat of the continental trading body.
Later in the day, the Minister met with some companies under the Government’s flagship One District, One Factory programme to help provide solutions to some challenges being encountered by the specific companies.
Compiled by the Communications and Advocacy Team
Ministry of trade and industry
Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa and Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon Kobina Tahir Hammond, is encouraging all Ghanaians, irrespective of their ideological and political persuasions, to rally behind the government as it seeks to put in place strategies aimed at enhanced production for local consumption as a way of building a resilient economy. He said the move will help deliver on government policy on import reduction, with the overall goal of significantly reducing the import bill in order to improve balance of payments.
The Minister made these comments on his second day of assumption of duty, when he met with some investors led by Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyapong, the Executive Chairman of the Jospong Group of Companies, who are interested in venturing into local rice production.
Ghana’s annual import bill, on the average, exceeds US$ 10 billion. In 2021 alone, figures from the Ghana Revenue Authority shows that total imports amounted to US$13.7 billion, with the top 50 non-traditional exports constituting about 30% of the total import bill,
Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyapong welcomed the support of government for the intended project, especially the availability of an incentive regime to help boost production. He disclosed that their studies have indicated that Ghana has a great potential for an all year-round rice production, through the application of a model that they have designed. He revealed that a survey of irrigable lands for the project has been undertaken already.
Ghana currently has a deficit of rice supply of about 360,000 metric tons yearly. When completed, the project will be able to account for about 40% of the 830,000 metric tons deficit. It will also create about 30,000 jobs.
The newly sworn-in Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon Kobina Tahir Hammond, has called for a sense of urgency and collective action to move the sector forward. According to the Minister, although he has a relatively short time to spend at the Ministry, he is ready, with the support of all stakeholders, to leave a memorable imprint.
Interacting with Management of the Ministry as well as Chief Executives of sector Agencies in his first official day at work, he sent strong signals that what he detests most are acrimony and backbiting – things he see as evils that are inimical to productivity and collective attainment of organizational goals.
The Chief Director of the Ministry, Mr. Patrick Yaw Nimo, welcomed him and pledged the support of management and staff towards the realisation of his vision.
The Chief Executives of the Agencies under the Ministry took turns to update him on some pending issues that needed immediate attention.
In a related development, Hon K. T. Hammond has also met with the leadership of the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA).
In his brief remarks, the President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng, noted that the Association has had good working relationships with previous Ministers, especially the immediate past one, Hon Alan Kyerematen, and hoped it would continue.
He was however quick to add that the meeting was the first time that a Minister had on his own, sought audience with them upon assuming office without a request from the Association.
They highlighted a number of issues that they felt should engage the immediate attention of the Minister, particularly foreigners in retail trade in the country.
Compiled by the Communications and Advocacy Team, MoTI