Some articulated trucks ready to offload Ghanaian produce for export
PRESIDENT AKUFO-Addo has stated that despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus (Covid-19) to the global supply chain, it is opening up opportunities for developing countries, especially Ghana.
According to him, the pandemic was teasing out the potentials in companies to enhance their industrial and productive capacity, increase the output of the agriculture sector by engendering food security, and, by extension, boosting exports from Ghana to markets within the continent and beyond.
President Akufo-Addo, who was speaking at the unveiling of the Volkswagen (VW)’s first assembled vehicles in Ghana on Monday, said the country’s recent experience in the garment and textiles sector since the onset of Covid-19 was testimony to this.
“With the support of government, our, hitherto, dormant domestic garment factories have, over the past few months, been revived, and have been able to produce, currently, 15 million face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers and for all those, i.e. students, teaching and non-teaching staff, involved in the partial reopening of our junior and senior high schools, universities and other tertiary institutions,” he said.
He indicated that Ghana had been spared some millions of dollars in foreign exchange and also job losses, as it had created jobs for thousands, especially young people, across the country.
“These job opportunities would have, otherwise, gone to foreigners in distant shores, had we chosen to import these PPE,” he noted.
The President stressed that his administration “is determined to continue this development with appropriate policy, including insisting that all public agencies purchase, henceforth, their textile and garment needs from domestic sources.”
Again, he stated, “We want to assemble and produce vehicles in Ghana, and, thereby, reduce eventually, our over-reliance on the importation of used vehicles.”
The Chief of Staff at the Office of the President has issued, recently, a new directive to all ministries, departments and agencies, and, indeed, to the Public Procurement Authority, to give first preference to the acquisition of locally assembled vehicles, when public funds are being used to buy vehicles.
He revealed further that in the Finance Minister’s mid-year budget review statement to Parliament, government was going to establish an Automobile Industry Development Support Centre, which will, amongst others, co-ordinate the technical processes for licencing domestic vehicle assemblers and manufacturers, and monitor also their compliance with industry regulations and standards.
The centre, in addition, will also co-ordinate the implementation of an essential element of a viable automotive sector, that is the establishment of a vehicle financing scheme, which will link financial institutions to individuals and groups interested in purchasing newly-assembled vehicles in Ghana.
“Furthermore, the centre will carry out an Automotive Skills Enhancement Programme to provide requisite skills for the various categories of the value chain of the automobile industry. All these measures are situated in the context of the Ghana Automotive Development Policy,” he added.
BY Samuel Boadi