By Laudia Sawer
Tema, March 15, GNA – Volkswagen (VW) Ghana Limited has opened its vehicle assembly plant in the Tema Free Zone enclave with a capacity of producing 5,000 plus cars and pickups annually.
The Tema assembling facility is an upscale and a replacement for the previous one opened in Accra in August 2020.
Mr Jeffery Oppong Peprah, Managing Director of VW Ghana, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at the commissioning, said the company had so far spent about eight million Euros in establishing a branch of the Germany Company in Ghana.
Mr Peprah said having the plant in Tema was strategic as it provided them with space to expand, adding that their proximity to the Tema Port also gave them a great advantage in exporting to other countries within the sub-region.
He said VW was currently producing six of its brands in Ghana namely, T-Cross, Teramount, Tiguan, Amarock, Passat, and Polo, which he stated best fit the local market.
Touching on the quality of the cars assembled in Ghana, he gave the assurance that the products were the same as those manufactured in their other plants in South Africa and Germany.
He said the vehicles as part of standards checks, undergosuspension tests, and fuel quality tests, among others.
He indicated that even though the quality was the same, the prices were affordable due to the VAT-free incentive from the government to buyers of the locally assembled vehicles as well as the non-payment of import tax on the vehicles compared to the imported ones.
He commended the Government for the initiative on the automotive industry, as according to him, countries that have developed, used automobiles as a backbone, adding that theGovernment must speed up the implementation of the remaining parts of the automotive policy to ensure they receive the benefits of their investments.
Mr Peprah noted that the ban on the importation of used vehicles which have devastating effects on the environment and health was yet to be fully implemented by the Government.
He added that auto financing policies must also be rolled out to provide the needed support for potential buyers of locally assembled vehicles.
Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the caretaker Minister of Trade and Industry, and substantive Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, recalled that the establishment of the VW plant in Ghana was an offshoot from a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)which was signed between the Government of Ghana and German Chancellor when she visited Ghana in 2018.
Mr Jinapor said the government showed its commitment to the MOU through the Ghana Automotive Development Policy (GADP) which was approved by Cabinet, saying currently Ghana has six vehicle assembling plants producing nine brands of vehicles.
He reiterated that government knows the importance of the automotive industry to the growth of the economy and as a key strategic industry which provided skilled employment to the people, technology transfer, sustainable jobs, and local supply chain opportunities.
He said the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development programme, which operates under his ministry was another initiative aimed at supporting the automotive industry and adding value to the country’s aluminium, bauxite and other minerals.
He gave the assurance that the automotive component manufacturing policy would be laid before Cabinet in a few days to provide the needed full support for the companies.