The Caretaker Minister of Trade and Industry Samuel Abu Jinapor has inaugurated an $8m Volkswagen (VW) vehicle assembly plant in Tema.
The assembly plant by the German car manufacturer, VW Ghana is located in the Free Zones Enclave in Tema.
Speaking at the inauguration, the caretaker minister stated that the assembling, and ultimately, production of vehicles in Ghana would create new and highly skilled citizens jobs.
He added that it would further reduce the use of foreign exchange to import second-hand vehicles and, at the same time, promote the exportation of Made in Ghana cars to other African markets that would in turn earn Ghana much-needed foreign exchange.
“The vision is to make Ghana a fully integrated and competitive industrial hub for the automotive industry in West Africa,” he explained.
Mr Jinapor stated that as a result of the government’s effort to make Ghana an industrial hub, it created the Ghana Automotive Development Policy to aid that agenda.
“Government created the Ghana Automotive Development Policy to incentivise and facilitate local manufacturing and assembly in Ghana and establish it as a fully integrated and competitive industrial hub,” he explained.
The caretaker minister called for more stakeholder investment into the automotive and component manufacturing sector as it was “a key sector for economic growth and transformation and a driver of employment.”
He urged all Ghanaians to purchase locally assembled vehicles as they were of the same quality as the ones produced in Europe.
Mr Jinapor hinted at further collaborations between VW and the government to increase the automobile manufacturing capacity of the country.
The Managing Director (MD) of VW Ghana, Mr Jeffery Oppong Peprah, stated that the new assembly plant was a scale-up of the old assembly plant and a reconfirmation of its investment in the country.
“Having our assembly plant in Tema which is closer to the port would reduce the cost of transportation of the vehicle parts,” he added.
Mr Peprah said that the assembly plant, which can assemble 5,000 units per annum, would produce vehicles like “Tiguan, Teramont, Passat, Polo, Amarok and T-Cross.”
He stated that VW would leverage the AfCFTA to reach a broader market and invest in the economic growth of Ghana.
Mr Peprah appealed to the government to fully implement the Ghana Automotive Development Policy for companies in the automobile manufacturing industry to leverage and contribute towards socio-economic development.
Also, the MD for VW South Africa, Martina Biene, in her remarks stated that VW was the first automotive company to be registered under the Ghana Automotive Development Programme (GADP), “and this new investment strengthens the brand’s presence in the country and the region.”
She explained that Ghana was an important market for the Sub-Saharan Africa expansion plans of VW in West Africa, hence the desire to develop a collaborative automotive industry hub amongst the countries in the region.
“The hub concept will ensure that each country with an automotive development policy or economic interest in the automotive industry has an important role to play in the supply value chain. We believe AfCFTA will be the catalyst which will unlock trade barriers and promote regional collaboration amongst the countries,” she said