Chinese heavy-duty truck manufacturer Sinotruck to set up in Ghana
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s state visit to China is bearing early fruits, with China’s first truck manufacturer, Sinotruk International, signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Ghana to establish an assembly plant in Ghana to servethe West African market
he touched own in China last week, the President had not only built on the ties between the two countries but also made a strong case for Ghanaas the preferred investment destination in Africa.
A direct outcome of the investment drive is the decision the Chinese automobile giant to make a strong presence in Ghana.
The MoU was signed at the Ghana-Shangdong Business Conference.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry represented the country on the MoU.
A part of the MoU mentioned that Ghanaians will be trained to help in the building of 1,500 trucks per year for sale in West Africa for a start, with the number being increased as the years go by.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, the General Representative of Sinotruk International, Zhang Yuzong, indicated that the company had a proud history of manufacturing a wide range of heavy-duty trucks, buses, special trucks, engines their sets, parts and special chassis.
He said the company produced some 300,000 trucks in 2017 and employed 40,000 hands and was confident that the establishment of the plant in Ghana would create jobs for Ghanaians and rake in significant revenue for the country.
Yuzong stated that Ghana protected legitimate investments and urged the Chinese business community to take advantage of the growing business-friendly climate in Ghana to invest there.
President appreciative President Akufo-Addo expressed his delight at Sinotruk International’s decision to establish an assembly plant in Ghana.
“We are very appreciative of your interest in our country and its development. Whatever we need to do to grow your business in Ghana, we are prepared to do it,” he said.
He assured Sinotruk International that “Ghana is a peaceful and stable country, with a strong belief in the rule of law” and gave an assurance that theagreement reached between the government and Sinotruk would be respected.
With West Africa’s current population of some 350 million projected to reach about 500 million in 20 years, the President described Ghana as “an ideal place to have your base for reaching the West African market”.
Ghana-China Investment Forum
At another major event — the Ghana-China Investment Forum in the Shangdong Province last Wednesday — President Akufo- Addo took his audience through a plethora of investment opportunities available in Ghana.
He said his government’s flagship agricultural programme, Planting for Food and Jobs, the renewable energy sector and ICT growth were all areas of considerable opportunity.
He explained that those were sectors where interested investors could profitably partner Ghanaian companies, some of whose representatives were atthe forum.
Ghana walks with China
The President said Ghana had taken the decision to walk hand in hand with China and its business community “because Ghana wants to walk far”.
He stated that since 2015, China had been Ghana’s largest trading partner, with total trade amounting to some $6.7 billion in 2017.
He said the majority of the exports from Ghana to Shangdong were raw materials, including crude oil, bauxite its concentrates and sawn timber.
“But we want to stop being mere producers and exporters of raw materials and deal with China and, indeed, the Shangdong Province, on the basis of things we make,” he said.
He explained that it was for that reason that he recommended to the Chinese business community his government’s flagship policy of One-district, One-factory.
The President disclosed that companies that had established factories in Ghana under the policy were importing machinery and equipment duty-free, were not paying import duty on raw materials imported for production and enjoying corporate income tax holiday for five years.
He indicated that the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Ghana had attached two technical experts to provide free advisory services to those companies.
Touching on Ghana’s infrastructural deficit, President Akufo-Addo said his government was embarking on an aggressive public-private partnership programme to attract investment in the development of both road and railway infrastructure.
“We are hopeful that with solid private sector participation, we can develop a modern railway network with strong production centre linkages and the potential to connect us to our to the north, Burkina Faso; to the west, Cote d’Ivoire, and to the east, Togo,” he noted.
He explained that that was an area where Chinese technology and expertise would be very welcome and expressed happiness that some important Chinese companies were making efforts to enter the rail sector of Ghana’s economy.
He told the business community that many projects in the roads, water, housing, transport, industry, manufacturing, agriculture, petroleum and gas sectors, as well as bauxite, iron ore and gold, were being structured to attract private sector financing.
President Akufo-Addo urged Chinese investors to invest in Ghana, either through the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre or set up as Free Zones enterprises.
He announced that the government had instituted a number of incentives for investors, depending on the nature of the activity or the location of the investment.
He mentioned the incentives to include exemption from the payment of import duty for plant and machinery, 25 tax rebate forcompanies located in regional capitals, 50 tax rebate for companies investing outside regional capitals in the regions and zero corporate tax for 10 years and, thereafter, eight for companies in the Free Zones enclave.