Chinese imports killing Alluwork-Inkumsah, Friday August, 6, 2010 pg 29

THE importation of cheap Chinese aluminium products into Ghana is killing the aluminium manufacturing industry in the country, the Board Chairman of Aluworks Limited, Mr William E. Inkumsah, has stated.

He said the situation had led to companies in the industry adopting drastic cost-cutting measures, including laying off some of their staff in order to stay in business.

Mr Inkumsah was speaking at the 23rd annual general meeting of the company.

“We are not against China or Chinese goods per se. Competition is good, when it is fair, it helps to improve quality and standards,” he stated.

He observed that while it was sad talking about the damage the Chinese products had done to the sector in Ghana, it was regrettable that Ghanaians were involved in “these acts against the nation and denying our hardworking workers their daily bread”.

“The phenomenon we are facing is grossly unfair. The Chinese prices are far too low. By all standards that is blatant dumping. And by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, we should be able to react with countervailing measures,” he emphasised.

He stated that “we can only develop and grow our economy when our manufacturing industries are supported by structures and programmes to  sustain their growth”.

Mr Inkumsah expressed concern about the misapplication of the concession arrangement in the harmonised code which was meant for only roofing sheets but was now being applied to all finished goods during the valuation of import duties.

He said the company was unable to pay dividend to its shareholders because of its poor financial position, and pleaded with shareholders to understand the peculiar circumstances.

The Board chairman was however optimistic that the company would bounce back to life because the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) which is the company’s main supplier of alumina  would turn round the fortunes of the company.

He said during the 2009 financial year the company recorded a net turnover of GH¢ 34.27 million against GH¢ 57.13 million in 2008.

He said the company also registered a loss of GH¢ 8,005  after taxation in addition to GH¢ 1,552 deficit balance on retained earnings, leaving its income surplus account in a deficit of GH¢ 9,557.

Touching on the company’s performance in the year under review, he said the company’s production dropped from 13,666 metric tonnes (mt) in 2008 to 6,915 mt, representing  a shortfall of 49 per cent on account of the unbridled competition from the Chinese exports.

Speaking on the recent tariff increases, the Managing Director of the Company, Mr Kwasi  Okoh, said it was necessary to review the tariff downwards in order to sustain the manufacturing sector.

Some shareholders of the company who spoke to the Daily Graphic  urged the government to provide a level playing field for the local aluminium industry because the case of local industries collapsing as a result of unfair competition from cheaper and sometimes inferior imported products remained a threat to the country’s growth.

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