Speaking at the Customer Awards Dinner of a cement manufacturer, CIMAF, Deputy Minister of Trade, Carlos Ahenkoraah said the ministry is also putting measures in place to prevent the importation of the product to protect and encourage the growth of existing cement processing companies.

Mr Ahenkorah said that the temporary ban and the restrictions on imports were meant to support the current eight cement manufacturers that operated in unfair competition.

"The ministry has taken note of the challenges in the industry and has decided not to increase the number of cement factories in the near future. Secondly, we have tried very hard to prevent the importation of the products into the country."

He said that the country has eight processors with installed capacity cement production was about 13 million tonnes annually. However, only half was utilised, leaving an excess capacity of 6.5 million tonnes.

He said the government is deliberately taking steps to ensure the surplus cement is exported to neighbouring countries.

The eight are Ghacem Limited, CIMAF Ghana Limited, Diamond Cement Group, Dangote Cement Ghana Limited, CBI Ghana Limited, Wan Heng Ghana Limited, Xin Ann Safe Cement Limited and Pozzolana Ghana Limited (PGL).

Mr Ahenkorah urged the manufacturers to maintain their prices at a reasonable level in the market since the government would not hesitate to allow for the import of cement if they form a cartel to increase their prices without consultations.

"The actions we have adopted will be in place for a very long time, except when the manufacturers decide to turn themselves into cartels to sabotage it. This is because cement forms an integral part of the economic growth and development in Ghana and so if you decide to increase prices of your product, it can change the political fortunes of a political party.”

"So, we will not allow manufacturers to run away with the prices of the product.

When you do that without consulting us, we will also open the floodgates for import to come in to compete with you," he said.

However, Mr Ahenkorah was hopeful that it would not get to the point of reversing their decisions because he believed the manufacturers would go by the arrangement put in place.