President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has directed all public agencies to source garments, textiles and vehicles from domestic producers in the country.
Speaking at the unveiling of the first Volkswagen assembled vehicles on Monday, 3rd August 2020, President Akufo-Addo explained that when COVID-19 reared its head in Ghana, one of the key objectives set by Government, in response, was to use the challenge of the pandemic as an opportunity to inspire the expansion of the country’s domestic capability, and deepen our self-reliance.
“To wit, we want to rely on the things we make and grow, not on the things we import. Indeed, the pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain, but it is also opening up opportunities for us to enhance our industrial, productive capacity, increase our agricultural output to engender our food security, and, generally, boost Ghanaian exports to markets in the continent and beyond,” he said.
A clear case in point, according to the President, has been the country’s recent experience in the garment and textiles sector, with the onset of COVID-19.
“With the support of Government, our, hitherto, dormant domestic garment factories have, over the past few months, been revived, and have been able to produce, currently, fifteen million face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPEs) for frontline health workers, and for all those, i.e. students, teaching and non-teaching staff, involved in the partial reopening of our junior and senior high schools, universities and other tertiary institutions,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “This has saved our nation millions of dollars in foreign exchange, and, at a time of job losses, has created jobs for thousands of people, especially young people, across the country. These job opportunities would have, otherwise, gone to foreigners in distant shores, had we chosen to import these PPEs.”
Government, the President stressed “is determined to continue this development with appropriate policy, including insisting that all public agencies purchase, henceforth, their textile and garment needs from domestic sources.”
He added that Government wants to replicate this example in all other sectors of the economy, including the automobile industry, adding that “we want to assemble and produce vehicles in Ghana, and, thereby, reduce, eventually, our over-reliance on the importation of used vehicles.”
To this end, President Akufo-Addo said the Chief of Staff at the Office of the President, has issued, recently, a new directive to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and, indeed, to the Public Procurement Authority, to give first preference to the acquisition of locally assembled vehicles, when public funds are used to buy vehicles.
He revealed further that, in the Finance Minister’s Mid-Year Budget Review Statement to Parliament, Government is going to establish an Automobile Industry Development Support Centre, which will, amongst others, co-ordinate the technical processes for licensing domestic vehicle assemblers and manufacturers, and monitor, also, their compliance with industry regulations and standards.
The Centre, in addition, will also co-ordinate the implementation of an essential element of a viable automotive sector, that is the establishment of a Vehicle Financing Scheme, which will link financial institutions to individuals and groups interested in purchasing newly-assembled vehicles in Ghana.
“Furthermore, the Centre will carry out an Automotive Skills Enhancement Programme to provide requisite skills for the various categories of the value chain of the automobile industry. All these measures are situate in the context of the Ghana Automotive Development Policy,” he added.