President Akufo-Addo has lauded the move by Toyota Tsusho to invest in the country’s automobile industry with the establishment of a manufacturing and assembling firm in Ghana.

The $7million plant, located at Tema Free Zones enclave, is expected to produce about 1300 vehicles in the coming year.

Already, the company has begun with the assembly of Toyota Motor Corporation’s Hilux pickup truck.

But there are plans to assemble Suzuki Motor Corporation’s Swift Compact car by 2024.

Speaking at the commencement ceremony, President Akufo-Addo described the investment as a major boost to the country’s economic recovery.

“The confidence in the Ghanaian economy expressed by a global brand like Toyota will provide additional impetus to the realization of the post-Covid-19 GH¢100 billion Ghana Cares Obaatanpa Programme.”

Through the recovery programme, the government in collaboration with participating financial institutions will create an asset-based vehicle financing scheme for public sector workers to buy locally assembled vehicles.

President Akufo-Addo said the plant will help reduce the use of foreign exchange to import secondhand vehicles as well as help the country to earn foreign exchange from exporting the vehicles.

According to President Akufo-Addo, his vision is to make the country an integrated and competitive industrial hub for the automotive industry in West Africa.

He indicated that government has acquired a building in the South Industrial Area in Accra to serve as a Ghana Automotive Development Centre.

The building will house a council to oversee the implementation of the auto policy to promote Ghanaian participation in the sector.

President Akufo-Addo assured the investor community of a favourable environment for the sustainability of their business.

Also, he is expected to take delivery of one of the locally assembled vehicles for his personal use.

Currently, the Trade and Industry Ministry is working with the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation and Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation to make the necessary raw materials readily available for the manufacturing sector of the automobile industry.

Sector Minister, Alan Kyerematen said the establishment of the Toyota Tsusho Manufacturing Ghana plant is a game-changer as the country imports over a hundred thousand vehicles annually. 

“Ghana spends more than $1.5 billion importing cars which makes up 15% of the country’s import bill.”

Meanwhile, Chief Operations Officer, Toyota Tsusho Corporation Africa, Shinichiro Otsuka assured consumers of quality locally assembled models as the company contributes to society.

According to him, Ghana will be the first country in the world to assemble both Toyota and Suzuki models on the same assembly line.

Toyota Tsusho’s investment will boost the economy - Akufo-Addo

On his part, the President and CEO of Toyota Tsusho, Ichiro Kashitani in a video message pledged the company’s continuous contribution to the continent’s economy.

Managing Director of Toyota Tsusho Manufacturing Ghana Company, Akira Yamada was delighted by the role of local producers in constructing the plant.

Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Tsutomu Himeno and other dignitaries were present at the ceremony.

Toyota Tsusho Manufacturing Ghana Company (TTMG) Ltd is the first Japanese company in the country to begin vehicle assembly.