President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has made a passionate appeal to the leadership and members of the Vehicle and Assets Dealers Union of Ghana (VADUG), to partner with government as it takes concrete steps to improve the automotive industry of the country.
President Akufo-Addo made the appeal when he addressed a delegation of the Union at the Jubilee House when they paid a courtesy call on him at his invitation.
President Akufo-Addo in his address said that he received word of bickering amongst members of the Union and its affliates over some provisions of the new Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Policy (GAMDP) of Government. The President noted that it was for this reason, he decided to meet with them to find a common ground on the matter.
"I heard the wranglings that are taking place on your side and I thought it would be a good idea for us to meet for me to get a first-hand idea of what the issues were," President Akufo-Addo said.
Ahead of the President's suggestion to the Union, the General Secretary, of VADUG, Joshua Opoku-Agyemang, in a statement read on behalf of his fellow union members, noted that there is the need to introduce some amendments to the Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Policy if the businesses of members of the union is to be sustained and also if jobs in the automotive industry value chain such as : clearing agents, tow vehicle owners and drivers, key programmers, straighteners, sprayers, spare parts dealers, mechanics, electricians, auto air-condition technicians, sales agents, security men, washers, among others are to be protected across the country.
The Union, as industry stakeholders, requested that firstly, section 151 of ACT 891(2020) be amended to redefine salvaged vehicles. The Union noted that there are two categories in salvaged titled vehicles;
a.Non-Repairable/Junk Titled Vehicles: These are ones severely damaged and non-operable with no resale value other than its parts which are normally sold to licensed dismantlers and scrappers and,
b. Repairable, repossessed, re-buildable, recoverable and legally exportable vehicles.
"These vehicles are mainly sold to licensed dealers within the jurisdiction, exporters, rebuilders and other licensed automobile businesses across the globe with buyers from UAE, Europe , Africa , Middle East. But unfortunately, vehicles with the mentioned conditions above are all referred to as wrecked or destroyed and banned under the blanket term salvage as per the current passed Customs Bill, 2020, Act 891," Opoku-Agyemang noted.
Additionally, the Union, according to its General Secretary, is also seeking to amend section 58 of the passed Act, to allow the importation of repairable, re-buildable, recoverable and legally exportable salvage vehicles.
"This is because those are the products VADUG and its affiliates deal in nationwide," the VADUG General Secretary Opoku-Agyemang echoed.
Vehicle Importation Age
The Union further proposed that government should consider discouraging the importation of vehicles older than 15 years of age with increased import duties, instead of banning outrightly motor vehicles over 10 years of age.
"This is because some of these vehicles come in well maintained with good mileages. VADUG believes that with strict and well resourced regulatory bodies in place coupled with considerable good roads, these vehicles would be in the position to serve our targeted consumer market," the VADUG General Secretary stated.
Call for Agreement
President Akufo-Addo in his remarks after the submissions of the Union said he does not think the matters that have been put forth by VADUG are so extreme from what government is trying to do such that, a middle ground cannot be found. He proposed that as early as Monday, the 27th of July 2020, officials from the Presidency together with the Trade Ministry will meet with the Union to find the way forward on their grievances.
"On the basis of what emerges from the dialogue, we can then approach the process of legislation," President Akufo-Addo intimated.
Lesson From COVID-19
President Akufo-Addo, noted in his address that the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, has taught the world a lesson which is the need to take steps to be independent and self-sufficient.
"This pandemic has come. It has opened the eyes of the world to the fact that every country that wants to work well has to create a paradigm for itself of self-dependancy and self-sufficiency. It is key," President Akufo-Addo said.
Appeal to VADUG
President Akufo-Addo indicated that like all other, sectors of the Ghanaian economy, VADUG, is going to have to adjust this thinking and business model to transform itself to be part of the home based localized automotive industry which is currently developing in the country.
"That was always a major objective to create a new paradigm where people like you, would fit in," President Akufo-Addo stated.