Let’s build consensus on new automotive industry policy – Akufo-Addo to VADUG

President Nana Akufo-Addo has appealed to the leadership and members of the Vehicle and Assets Dealers Union of Ghana (VADUG) to partner his government as it takes concrete steps to improve Ghana’s automotive industry.

The President 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.

In his address, the President said he received word of bickering among members of the union and its affiliates over some provisions of the government’s Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Policy (GAMDP), thus, his decision to meet with them for a resolution.

“I heard the wrangling 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 are 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 part dealers, mechanics, electricians, auto air-condition technicians, sales agents, security men, washers, among others are to be protected across the country.

Proposed Amendments

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 (The 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 as well as exporters, rebuilders and other licensed automobile businesses across the globe with buyers from UAE, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. But unfortunately, vehicles with the mentioned conditions above are all referred to as wrecked or destroyed and banned under the blanket term ‘salvaged’ 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 salvaged vehicles.

“This is because, those are the products VADUG and its affiliates deal in nationwide,” Mr Opoku-Agyemang noted.

Vehicle Importation Age

The union further proposed that the government should consider discouraging the importation of vehicles older than 15 years of age with increased import duties, instead of outrightly banning 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 the government is trying to do, such that a middle ground cannot be found.

He proposed that as early as Monday, 27 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.

Lessons 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-dependency 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 localised 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.

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