Government expects to have three automobile assembly plants operational in 2019 and plans to introduce a national automobile policy before that, to provide clear direction and guidelines for the industry, President Nana Akufo-Addo has said.
Speaking at the 7th Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) Awards in Accra, President Akufo-Addo said: “We anticipate that the assembly plants to be established by three global automobile giants – Volkswagen, Nissan and Sinotruk – will become operational in 2019. Ahead of that, a comprehensive automobile industrial policy will be launched to provide clear and consistent guidelines for the sector”.
To drive the country’s manufacturing sector, he assured that government will continue working toward creating a favourable business environment in the country – driving investments, both domestic and foreign.
He added: “We all know that the world’s leading economies were developed through industrialisation and value-added activities, and the greatest aspiration any of us could hope for is the realisation of investments in the collective vision of Ghana becoming an export–oriented country, driven by industrial production”.
The president said the case wherein exports of cocoa, gold, timber, oil and other natural resources in their raw form account for over 80 percent of Ghana’s export revenue means that: “We know we have a problem we must urgently address, because raw material producing and exporting countries find it difficult to deliver wealth and jobs for their people and enhance their living standards on a sustainable basis.”
He also reiterated government’s determination to hasten the process of industrialisation, adding: “One thing I can assure you of is that the days of high public debt, high fiscal deficit, high interest rates, rapidly depreciating currency, erratic power supply will not be a feature of my government”.
Capping fiscal deficit at 5 percent of the national budget and establishment of a National Fiscal Advisory Council from 2019 – to monitor the performance of fiscal management policies and to advise the president on appropriate measures to be taken – he noted, will further strengthen government’s resolve to ensure fiscal discipline.
In the area of promoting industrialisation, he said 79 projects have been implemented under the One District, One Factory programme; with another 35 currently undergoing credit appraisal.
Similarly, US$237million has so far been disbursed to 16 companies under the stimulus package for viable but struggling companies, with an additional 35 being considered for support, he added.
7th AGI Awards
The awards, themed ‘Transforming the Ghanaian economy through industrialisation’, formed part of activities to climax the AGI’s 60th anniversary.
They were also to recognise companies and individuals which are contributing tremendously to Ghana’s industrialisation and development.
The AGI’s president, Yaw Adu-Gyamfi, said industry – if given the needed support, will promote development by creating employment for Ghana’s teeming youth.
“Our prospects for job-creation will improve if local industry experiences sustainable growth to alleviate the unemployment situation. Indeed, many of our school-leavers spend longer times looking for jobs than the time they spent pursuing courses at tertiary institutions.”
This trend, Mr. Adu-Gyamfi added, must change: “A couple of years back, the once-vibrant sectors of manufacturing such as textiles, alumina, glass manufacturing, vehicle assembly and processing agricultural products like meat, sugar, tomatoes and citrus have all collapsed.”