President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday commissioned the Toyota vehicle assembly plant in Ghana, urging the Japanese company to work towards making their products affordable to the local consumer.
Set up by Toyota Tsusho Manufacturing Company Limited, the plant, situated at the free zones enclave in Tema, will assemble some models of Toyota and Suzuki vehicles for Ghana and the sub-region.
At a short ceremony, President Akufo-Addo said by assembling and ultimately producing cars in Ghana, new and highly skilled jobs were being created, the use of foreign exchange to import second hand vehicles would be reduced and the country would be provided with the much needed foreign exchange from the export of made in Ghana cars to other African markets.
The facility has already offered some 334 employment opportunities to young Ghanaian graduates from the various tertiary institutions across the country.
The occasion, the President said, was a major boost for Ghana’s industrial transformation agenda, and would enable his government to achieve its vision to make the country a fully integrated and competitive industrialised hub of the automotive industry in West Africa.
The President explained that as a component of the Post COVID economic recovery programme, government would collaborate with participating financial institutions to develop an access-based vehicle financing schemes to public sector workers to purchase locally assembled vehicles.
That arrangement, he said, would make the acquisition of new vehicles more affordable.
President Akufo-Addo assured that Government would continue to create the enabling environment to boost the profitability of the emerging automotive sector.
He announced that the Trade and Industry Ministry was engaging other state institutions, such as the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation and the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation to develop locally, the required raw material value chains to feed the manufacturing sector of the automobile industry.
Government, the President said, had also acquired a building complex at the South Industrial Area in Accra to be developed as the Ghana Automotive Development Centre which would amongst 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.
He directed all state institutions to purchase locally assembled vehicles, noting that a number of senior government officials in in his administration were now driving locally assembled vehicles.
“… I myself will take delivery of one for my personal use this week,” he said.
“This is an expression of our confidence in what we produce here in Ghana.”
He said the commissioning of the first set of Toyota cars assembled in the country was “a good day for mother Ghana, a day which represents deeply the already strong relations that exists between Ghana and Japan”.
The President said the government attached importance to the development of the automobile industry, saying Toyota’s presence in Ghana fell in line with the move to implement the country’s Automotive Development Policy.
He noted that the investment made by the Toyota Tsusho Manufacturing Company came at a very opportune time in the nation’s development, serving as a major boost to on-going efforts by government to hasten the economic recovery in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The confidence in the Ghanaian economy expressed by a global organisation like Toyoto will, indeed, provide additional impetus to the realisation of our Post COVID Economic Recovery Programme, designed to revitalise and transform the Ghanaian economy in the new COVID-19 free era.
President Akufo-Addo urged the company to expand the range of its models in due course, since the Toyota brand had 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,” he stated.
“I assure investors and stakeholders within the automotive industry in Ghana of Government’s continuous, unflinching support for the sustainability of their businesses in Ghana.”