Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has signed a USD24.98 million credit facility on behalf of the Government of Ghana with the Indian Government for the construction of assembling plant to boost the agriculture sector.
The credit facility would be used for building the structure for the assembling plant, supply of knockdowns and fabrication of agriculture implements including tractors, backhoe loaders, power tillers, power reapers, power pumps, and paddy threshers.
The project, which would be completed in 18 months is to support smallholder marginal farmers to boost agricultural productivity, diversify the manufacturing base of the country and create jobs for Ghanaians.
The Finance Minister, Mr Ofori-Atta signed on behalf of the Government of Ghana, while Mr Selver Kumar, Resident Representative, Exim Bank, India, signed on behalf of the Government of India.
In all, about 4,500 tractors, 600 backhoe loaders, 6,000-disc harrow and ploughs, 3,000 power tillers were expected to be assembled in the Ghana annually, and the products also exported to neighbouring African countries.
Speaking at the short ceremony, Mr Ofori-Atta, remarked that, the project was in line with Government’s initiatives to formalise the Ghanaian economy and improve the agriculturural sector, diversify the country’s manufacturing base, and overhaul its development agenda.
“Ultimately, the project is expected to significantly transform Ghana’s agriculture sector, create jobs, raise incomes, reduce malnutrition, and help accelerate economic growth,” he said.
The Minister traced the long-lasting relationship between Ghana and India saying, “As we all know, Ghana-India Bilateral Economic Cooperation dates back to the early 1960s when Ghana’s first President, Nkrumah, emerged as a leading member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and developed a close friendship with Prime Minister Nehru.”
“President Nkrumah visited India in 1961 and established bilateral ties between our respective nations focused on trade, commerce, economic, social and cultural exchanges,” he emphasised.
Mr Ofori-Atta noted that the agreement, therefore, marked another significant milestone in advancing bilateral economic relations between Ghana and India, while reaffirming the mutual commitment and determination to broaden and deepen bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
He also conveyed the Government’s heartfelt appreciation to the Government of India for some key ongoing projects, notably the Construction of a 97.620km railway line from Tema to Mpakadan by Messrs Afcons Infrastructure limited of India (US$447.173 million), which was 93.90% complete and was expected to be completed by 31st December 2022.
Other projects included the implementation of the Rehabilitation and Up-Grading of Potable Water Project in Yendi (US$30.0 million), Strengthening of Agricultural Mechanization Service Centres (AMSECs) Project (US$150.0 million), and recently completed Foreign Service Training Institute Project (US$5.0 million), which was handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MFARI) on Thursday, 31st March 2022.
The Acting Chief Director at MoFA, Mr Twumasi Ankrah also said that, having the assembling plants in Ghana would be a major contributing factor to the success of the Government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme.
“The assembling plant will boost the mechanisation agenda of Government and reduce the importation of goods from foreign countries, which in the long run will help to reduce the pressure on major trading foreign currencies such as the dollar,” he said.
For his part, the Resident Representative of the Exim Bank of India, Mr. Selva Kumar said that the project will help make agriculture more attractive and create jobs for the Ghanaian youth and be a game changer for the people and the economy.
Mr. N. C Soral of Action Construction Equipment Ltd said that, though most of the knockdown implements would be brought from India at the initial stages of the project, the long-term goal was for Ghana to manufacture the implements locally.
He said, “Initially, it will be an assembling plant, but gradually, it will be a 100 percent manufacturing plant, that will manufacture each component of the item.”
Present at the signing ceremony were Tushar Uniyal, Representative of the Indian High Commissioner to Ghana, N.C. Soral, President, International Business Division, Action Construction Equipment Limited, Mr. Patrick Aboagye, Deputy Director, Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Nana Appiah Onwawani, Chief of Esieninpong in the Ashanti Region.