Thursday, July 25, 2024

Press Release: False Allegations Against Jah Multi-industrial, Salam Cement, and GACEM by Importers Association

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By: Association of Gambian Manufacturers

Fellow Gambians, this presser serves as a direct response to false allegations made against our members and to set records right. We as the Association of Gambian Manufactures on behalf of Jah Multi-Industrial, Salam Cement and Gacem wish to shed light on frivolous and baseless accusations label by the so call bagged- Cement importers Association whose members are mostly dominated by foreigners and actively working towards the economic and industrial growth of another country and effectively working harder to marginalise and kill the already establish industries in The Gambia and continue to advocate our dear country’s continuous dependence on foreign imports and economic strangulation. “REMEMBER WHENEVER YOU IMPORT YOU ARE CREATING EMPLOYMENT IN THE COUNTRY YOU ARE IMPORTING FROM”.

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As a background, these three companies have a combined installed capacity of producing 185,000 bags of cement per day (Jah 110,000 Salam 50,000 and Gacem 25,000). The daily average consumption of cement in The Gambia at peak period is 100-110,000 bags and lean period is around 45-50,000 per day. Jah Multi-Industrial Mostly import bulk cement from Turkey or Moroc and do the re-bagging at their facilities in Brikama, Salam over the years has evolve from importing bulk cement to ACTUAL MANUFACTURING OF CEMENT- you are free to pass by their factory in Banjul to see all the raw materials (clinkers, limestone & clay) and Gacem also imports bulk cement from their parent companies and do the re-bagging.

Currently all these 3 Factories are operating at less than 10 per-cent installed capacity and have a combined investment of more than 75 million USD and employed over 5,000 (direct and indirect) operating at 10% of utilized capacity, imagine if they are at 100% capacity the employment they will generate, the tax, social security contribution, other expenses (Energy to Nawec) the Government and the people of The Gambia are benefiting from.

Fellow Gambians, as you are all aware, this very Importers of cement are working foreign cement factories for their selfish interest with the aim to kill our own industries, have been the very culprits who has been hiking the price of cement over the years in the country. This is evidenced by a known fact that, whenever Jah multi-industrial is out of the market, the price of cement goes up and when he enters the market the price will always come down.

The importer made false allegation that our locally produced cement are of lower quality, this is a false accusation because both Jah and Gacem cement has been proven to be European quality and scientifically proven fact by engineers in diverse areas; several tests were conducted in The Gambia, Ghana and other places and the results are that Jah and Gacem brand are the more superior quality to that of imported cement.  Further evidence shows that all Government and international projects currently on going in the country, would not recommend the quality of that cement they import from their cronies across the borders for any of the ongoing projects, being it to Major Contractors or any other project government issues to contractors due to quality issues. I wish to challenge any meaningful Gambian to make simple research on the quality of imported cement and compare it to that of our local industries. To help you, the imported bagged cement is 32.5R and locally bagged cement is 42.5R. The 32.5R is recommended only for plastering and not for any heavy construction whereas the 42.5R which is the global standard recommended by engineers for construction.

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In view of the foregoing, it is incomprehensible to read from the so call press release of the importers of bagged cement traders and the writer claiming that the imported bagged cement is of a higher quality, that statement is either written out of sheer ignorance or blatant attempt to take Gambians for granted. Fellow Gambians, it is the Duty of every responsible government to create an enabling environment for its local industries for sustainable economic growth and ween the country from dependency to economic independence and that is exactly what the Government did as enshrine in the economic policies of this country. It is high time we replicate what is happening around us as a country. For example, some our Neighbors their support for local industries is Iron Clad, and I envy them for that. This evident as follows;

Sugar cannot be allowed from the Gambia to across the border because they have local sugar industries in their country.

Gambian water is one of the best waters in the world in terms of taste, but our neighbors never accept our waters in their economy because they have water producing factories.

Gambian Cement cannot be allowed to cross in because they have their local Cement factories to protect, and this was why they blocked Salam Cement trucks at their border when it attempted to cross into the name and spirit of free trade across Africa and ECOWAS.

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Any other thing produced in The Gambia cannot enter their borders (you can ask Salam why his steel production is moved, Yandi drinks what is their experience). This is just because the welfare and growth of their industries comes first before anything else; which is a very good economic and trade policy to allow industrial growth.

Felow Gambians, now tell me, is The Gambia as a sovereign is not entitled to promote its own Industries and Businesses?  What is sad and disheartening, is to hear our own countrymen, shamelessly writing a press release to advance economic interest of another country at the detriment of their own country; unbelievable! The only sense I deduce from that is either the interest group are not true Gambians as they claimed, or they are outright selfish. To further debunk their false claims, lets now focus on facts and point out the fallacies in their release as follows;

  1. They claimed that they have been paying 6,00,000 dalasi a day to GRA. This is not just an outright attempt to blindfold the readers with highly exaggerated figures that does not exist but again a self-revealing lie because if they are paying 6 million per day at D30 then they are importing 200,000 bags per day and paying GMD2.1Billion. This is outright fake as all cement coming from Senegal are cleared by the Ministry of Trade through the ETLS and our findings indicates that these figures are ABSOLUTE FALSE.
  2. They also claimed they employ more Gambians that all the three factories combine but fall short of providing estimated figures. This is also false; their major employees are their truck drivers in fact some of them will hire foreign trucks that will bring the cement and sell it directly to consumers thereby bypassing the wholesalers and retailers. For our cement producers, they have a combined direct/indirect employment of over 5000 people operating at 10% imagine if they are at 100%.
  3. our members employments are formal employment thereby paying social security contribution, paying taxes (not only duties paid by importers) and on every vessel that anchors they pay GMD 8 million to GPA and 1 million to GMA, on average our members bring in 3-7 ships per month depending on the peak or lean period. Meaning only on port and maritime charges our members contribute GMD45-50million monthly.
  4. on tax contribution you may refer to GRA the hundreds of millions we bring to the table per month, in fact one of them was awarded by GRA at the Taxpayers night.
  5. The continuous depreciation of the dalasi against the CFA is catalyze by the bagged imported cement traders; simply because, they all are scrambling for the CFA to sustain their cross-border imports and in so doing the dalasi continuously keep losing its value and the CFA keep hiking. Consequently, all they have contributed for The Gambia, is hyperinflation that resulted to high cost of leaving due to the dalasi losing its exchange value to the CFA and other currencies.
  6. The fact of the matter is, The Gambia was massively losing economically with the overland cement imports than gaining anything from it from revenue leakages at the borders, massive retrenchment of workers in these three factories, revenue loses to GRA and financial choking of the GPA, loss of livelihood of all those people who depends on the factories including women who sell food to the large work force etc.
  7. when this measure was about to be introduced, the Ministry of Trade and Industry invited and organised a Meeting with their President with one of the producers for them to be buying from the local producers, but they refused because of the margins they are making from the imported bagged cement.

In conclusion, all patriotic Gambians who truly love this country should be proud of their locally grown industries by standing firm with their Gambian own to stabilize the price of cement.

In the recent passed as witness by all Gambians, when Jah  was out of the market for very good reasons, these so call cement traders where the only ones selling cement in The Gambia; and they were happily selling cheap quality cement to Gambians at almost 500 dalasi per bag, and they were falsely defending the high price with false claims of the CFA was high, markets prices are up, but immediately Jah  came in the market and drop the prices down for  Gambian consumers, which they criticize and chastise Jah Oil Company for doing, they automatically dropped their prices also to the level Jah Oil was selling.

This clearly manifest and reveal their lack of consideration and absolute disregard for Gambians consumers and solely focuses on their selfish over profiteering interest to the detriment of the country and the Gambians.

Gambians and our Government should start focusing more on the industrialization of the country and cut loose from import dependency and create more jobs for our youthful population.

Association of Gambian Manufacturers.

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