Neoplan Ghana Ltd needs business – and a large injection of capital – to save it from imminent collapse.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced that the government has decided to absorb Neoplan Ghana Ltd into its One District, One Factory (1D1F) initiative in order to help resuscitate the company, which has been in decline.
The decision follows a request made to the president by the MP for Bantama, Francis Asenso-Boakye, and the managing director of Neoplan Ghana, Georges Nassar, for an intervention by the government to save the company from imminent collapse.
Neoplan (Ghana) Ltd was established in 1974 under the Kutu Acheampong regime as a joint-venture company between the Government of Ghana and Gottlob Auwärter GmbH. Its brief was to produce buses for Ghana’s public transport fleet. Indeed, the company became the first bus manufacturing plant in West Africa.
It will be recalled that on the assumption of office of the first New Patriotic Party government in 2001, Neoplan Ghana was contracted to build 450 buses for the Metro Mass Transport fleet. The contract was for a period of eight years, ending in July 2010.
Since then, the company has not been able to secure any further government contracts, or orders from the private sector. Its operations have been limited to bus repair and maintenance services, which has led to recurring losses.
Visiting the premises of the company on Monday 4 October 2021, on the final day of his four-day tour of the Ashanti Region, President Akufo-Addo remarked that it was in 2001, under the government of John Agyekum Kufuor, that the company’s fortunes revived. The same, he declared, will be the case under his government.
Responding to a direct request from the Neoplan managing director for Metro Mass Transit Ltd to place orders for buses with Neoplan, President Akufo-Addo said: “We are going to make sure that order is brought very soon.”
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, said that Neoplan has been a household name since the 1970s, and just as the former president J A Kufuor did to ensure the revival of the company, so President Akufo-Addo will do.
He stressed that the agenda pursued by President Akufo-Addo since he came into office in 2017 has been to move Ghana away from being a mere producer and exporter of raw materials and turn the country into a value-added, industrialised economy. This is also the surest means to create the numbers of jobs the country needs to employ the masses.
Neoplan, the minister said, was responsible for the production and distribution of 450 buses for Metro Mass Transit, some of which are still very much in use.
“The president has heard you clearly. All you want is what Kufuor did, President Akufo-Addo should do the same for you …” Kyerematen said. “If Ghana has the money to import buses, which in turn creates jobs for foreigners, why don’t we use the same money [we would have used] to import to recapitalise Neoplan?
“This is what the president is going to do for you. There are good times ahead of Neoplan. Neoplan shall rise again.”
New road from Anwiankwanta to Obuasi
President Akufo-Addo also inspected work on the 30-kilometre Anwiankwanta-Obuasi Road, the contract for which has been awarded to Messrs Joshob Construction Company Ltd at a price of GHC321,999,853.71.
The project is expected to be completed within 48 calendar months, ending on 18 December 2023, and is being financed through the Consolidated Fund of the Government of Ghana.
The rehabilitation works involve site clearance and demolition, provision of roadside drains to effect proper drainage of the road and thereby ensure pavement longevity, sectional ground improvement with boulders, provision of asphalt concrete surfacing and provision of roadline markings and road signs to enhance safety of road users.
Progress with the works stands at 82%. When completed, the road will enhance socio-economic activity in the area and facilitate efficient movement of people and goods to towns such as Anwiankwanta, Daa, Patasi, Kwapia, Dadwen, Obuasi and surrounding towns and villages.
The improved condition of the road will promote agricultural activity and trade and ensure efficient delivery of services in the Bekwai and Obuasi municipalities and contiguous districts.