The Ghana Automotive Industry Development Centre (GAIDC), a one-stop-shop for the coordination and delivery of automotive services in the country, has been inaugurated.
The $8-million office complex has been established to provide office space for policy support, vehicle financing, investment and customs facilitation, training and skills development, vehicle testing and certification.
It also has a showroom for exhibiting locally assembled vehicles.
The outgoing Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, who inaugurated the centre, yesterday, said it had been set up as part of measures to operationalise the Ghana Automotive Industry Development Council.
At the event, a 19-member council, composed of stakeholders from both the private and public sector, was also commissioned with members drawn from both public and private sector entities.
Some private sector organisations with representatives on the council included the Ghana Automobile Dealers Association, the African Association of Automobile Manufacturers, Ghana National Association of Garages and the Vehicle and Asset Dealers Union of Ghana.
State institutions such as the Ghana International Trade Corporation (GITC), Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) as well as the ministries of Trade and Industry, Transport, Finance Employment and Labour and Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), are all part of the council.
The council was inaugurated as a requirement under the Ghana Automotive Development Policy, with the mandate to develop an effective economic consultation structure to effectively address any issues related to automotive assembly activities and to provide input into any policy review exercise.
The council is further required to promote the harmonious and integrated development and growth of vehicle assembly, automotive components manufacturing and their related trading activities in Ghana and externally, in collaboration with the key stakeholders in the industry.
Also, the council will make recommendations to government on the implementation of the Ghana Automotive Development Programme, including but not limited to the incentive and regulatory framework, access to industrial infrastructure, vehicle financing, training, technology upgrading, supplier development, as well as standards and safety.
Mr Kyerematen said the automotive assembly and component manufacturing industry was universally recognised as a key strategic sector for stimulating economic growth and transformation, aside being "a powerful driver of employment, foreign investment, innovation and technology transfer".
"The forward and backward linkages within the industry trigger an integration with other industrial sectors that lead to economic growth, creation of sustainable jobs and enhancing value addition to local resources," he said.
He said it was on that score that the Ministry of Trade and Industry commenced the design of the Ghana Automotive Development Policy in 2018 aimed at making Ghana the automobile manufacturing hub in the sub-region as part of the government's implementation of industrial transformation agenda.
Mr Kyerematen said the implementation of the automotive policy had strategically positioned Ghana as an emerging hub in West Africa.
"Ghana is on the path of becoming the vehicle manufacturing hub within the sub-region through the implementation of the Ghana Automotive Development Policy which has led to the attraction of six of the top ten leading original equipment manufacturers of the world to invest in Ghana.
The out-going minister said the government was currently working on a comprehensive auto-financing scheme that would ensure that "the ordinary Ghanaian" was able to afford a vehicle.
Mr Kyerematen added that as part of the government’s efforts to develop an integrated automotive value chain, the Trade Ministry had drafted the Ghana Automotive Component Manufacturing Policy to provide incentives and a regulatory regime to attract component manufacturers into Ghana’s automotive industry while taking advantage of the existing resource.
"I believe that with the indigenous expertise operating from Suame Magazine in Kumasi, Kokompe in Accra and other artisanal hubs in Tamale, Takoradi, Koforidua and other parts of the country, Ghanaians will enjoy the significant benefits an integrated auto industry offers," he said.