The 16th edition of the Ghacem Cement Foundation (GCF) was held last week in Takoradi where health and educational Institutions in the southern sector of the country (Western, Central, Eastern, Volta and Greater Accra regions) received cement allocations to aid their infrastructural projects.
The GCF secretariat annually gives cement to the institutions across the country grouped into Southern and Northern sectors as a support package for the institutions which are undertaking various projects.
A total of 14,000 bags valued at GH¢420,000 were handed over to the beneficiary institutions in the Southern Sector at an event in Takoradi. The Northern Sector (Ashanti, Northern, Brong Ahafo, Upper East and Upper West Regions) will also receive their allocations next week at a similar event in Kumasi.
The foundation has approved a total of 25,000 bags to be distributed across the country this year.
Present at the awards ceremony were Council Members of the foundation including the Chairman, Ehunabobrim Prah Agyensaim VI, Mr Morten Gade, Managing Director of Ghacem (member), Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo (member). Also present was Ghacem Works Manager for Takoradi, Mr Jorn Johansen.
Welcoming representatives of beneficiary institutions, Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo, observed the number of applications keeps increasing yearly which is a demonstration that the institutions have become good partners in the realization of the foundation’s objective of ensuring health and educational institutions in deprived communities get adequate infrastructural support.
“The foundation has donated cement for close to 20 years which is no mean achievement so I, therefore, call on you to use the cement judiciously and for its intended purposes. Government alone cannot be left to provide infrastructure as such efforts from the private sector should be very much appreciated,” she said.
In his keynote address, Managing Director of Ghacem, Mr Morten Gade said the company takes delight in honouring its corporate obligation annually as it gives an opportunity to appreciate the impact of its work especially in deprived communities who have limited central Government funding.
“For close to two decades Ghacem has supported schools, hospitals and other sensitive institutions in the country,” he said.
He disclosed the company recently donated cement for the construction of the multi-purpose maternity block at the Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital under the First Lady’s “Save a child, save a mother project”.
Mr. Gade noted the GCF was commitment to give more support especially as he observed the outlook of the Ghanaian economy in 2018 looks positive with the cement industry gradually experiencing improvement with the passage of a Legislative Instrument to streamline bagged cement and the setting of the Ghana International Trade Commission to provide regulation of international trade in Ghana.
He applauded Government for the initiatives and said he was hopeful they will remedy the various injurious practices against local industries and also for reducing electricity tariff to make local industries more competitive.
“The macro economy is also moving in the right direction with reduced inflation and relatively stable currency which gives business confidence. With the implementation of the right policies, the economy could grow even beyond the forecasted 6.3% this year,” he said.
Mr Gade disclosed that Ghacem’s financial contributions to the Government in terms of direct and indirect taxes in 2017 amounted to Gh.¢ 280 million, “as a true nation builder” and assured of a continuous commitment to produce quality cement at an affordable price with unparalleled customer satisfaction.
Addressing the gathering, Ehunabobrim Prah Agyensaim VI, Chairman of the Foundation disclosed that over the last 16 years the foundation has disbursed almost 525,000 bags at a cost of Gh.¢ 16.8 million, bringing to the total number of communities that have benefited to almost 5,000.
He, therefore, called on all to keep patronizing Ghacem cement as a company that is reinvesting in communities and supporting development.
“We need an educated and healthy skilled workforce to propel the economy into a modern one. The responsibilities rest not only on Government and the Private sector but a collective one. The responsibility is, even more, demanding on you as duty bearers to ensure its efficient utilization.”
Most representatives of the beneficiary institutions who spoke to the press were upbeat the GCF had come at the opportune time to save lives in the deprived communities of the country. Mr William Ladzaka, An administrator of the Catholic Hospital Anfoega, Volta Region, a beneficiary institution could not hide his joy as he disclosed the event was the second time the hospital was receiving the support.
“This is the second time we have received cement from Ghacem. The first one was used to complete the extension of our OPD and this particular one to complete our emergency unit. Here in the Volta Region accident cases are recorded a lot and most cases are referred here. With the expansion project, we are optimistic we will save a lot of lives as cases can be adequately catered for here. We thank Ghacem because without them the project would have stalled”
Another beneficiary, Asa SDA Basic School, Central Region represented by the headmaster, Nana Ampem Darko told the media the school is a regular beneficiary of GCF which has helped improved hygiene in the school.
“Last year we received cement and used it to complete our urinary and primary block. Until the completion of the projects, the kids urinated everywhere which posed a serious health hazard. Through the GCF our infrastructure has improved and teaching and learning has also been improved,” Nana Ampem Darko said.