President Nana Akufo-Addo on Tuesday commissioned the Toyota Tsusho Vehicle Assembly Plant, which is assembling some models of Toyota and Suzuki vehicles in the country.
Describing the occasion as a very happy one for him, the Ghanaian people, and for Government’s Industrial Transformation Agenda, President Akufo-Addo stated that Toyota Tsusho’s presence in Ghana has been facilitated by government’s bold move to develop the Ghana Automotive Development Policy under the auspices of the Ministry of Trade and Industry with generous fiscal incentives.
By assembling, and, ultimately, producing cars in Ghana, the President stressed that new and highly skilled jobs are being created, the use of foreign exchange to import secondhand vehicles will be reduced, and, at the same time, the exports of Made in Ghana cars to other African markets will earn Ghana the much needed foreign exchange.
“The vision is to make Ghana a fully integrated and competitive industrial hub for the automotive industry in West Africa, and we are very much on course,” he said.
The President continued: “This facility has already offered some 334 employment opportunities to young Ghanaian graduates from our tertiary institutions across the country, notably from the University of Ghana, the University of Cape Coast, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, the George Grant University of Mines and Technology, and some technical and vocational institutions.”
The decision taken by Toyota Tsusho to undertake the investment, according to the President, has come at a very opportune time in Ghana’s development, as it serves as a major boost to ongoing efforts by government to hasten the nation’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The confidence in the Ghanaian economy, expressed by a global organisation like Toyota, he said, will provide additional impetus to the realisation of the Government’s post-Covid economic recovery programme, titled the one hundred billion cedis Ghana Cares Obaatampa Programme, which has been designed to revitalise and transform the Ghanaian economy in the new Covid-19-free era.
“One of the components of this Programme is for Government, in collaboration with Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs), to develop an Asset-Based Vehicle Financing Scheme for public sector workers to purchase locally assembled vehicles.
“This Scheme will make the acquisition of new vehicles more affordable,” the President said.
He assured that the government will continue to create the enabling environment to boost the profitability of the emerging automotive sector in Ghana, adding that the Ministry of Trade and Industry is working with other state institutions.
He said they include Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation (GIADEC) and Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC), to develop locally the required raw material value chains to feed the manufacturing sector of the automobile industry.
In addition to this, the President revealed that government has also acquired a building complex at the South Industrial Area in Accra, to be developed as the Ghana Automotive Development Centre.
It will, among others, serve as a one-stop support destination for the implementation of the Auto Policy, and be a hub for the development of advanced skills for the industry.
The complex will also house the Ghana Automotive Development Council, a consultative stakeholder body, to oversee the auto policy implementation, and promote Ghanaian participation in the development of the sector.
In addition to the attractive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives offered to investors in the auto sector, government, in promoting the patronage of locally assembled vehicles, has directed all State institutions to purchase locally assembled vehicles to demonstrate government’s commitment to support ‘Made in Ghana’ vehicles.
“It is gratifying to note that a number of senior government officials in my administration are now driving locally assembled vehicles, and I, myself, will take delivery of one for my personal use this week. This is an expression of our confidence in what we produce here in Ghana,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He, thus, urged the company to expand, in due course, the range of models, since the Toyota brand has a strong presence in Ghana, West Africa and the rest of Africa.
“I also urge senior management of Toyota Corporation to leverage the incentives granted under the Ghana Automotive Development Programme to make their products affordable and competitive for the Ghanaian consumer.
“I assure investors and stakeholders within the automotive industry in Ghana of the government’s continuous, unflinching support for the sustainability of their businesses in Ghana,” he added.