Story by Carlos Afanou

The Automobile Dealers Union of Ghana has threatened government with an uncontrollable demonstration if it does not heed to the call of the union to amend some aspects of the Customs Amendment Act 2020.

In March this year (2020), Parliament passed the Customs Amendment Bill. The bill was opposed by the Minority and vehicle dealers across the country but was later passed into law by Parliament and approved by the President on April 30,2020. Ban on importation of 'accident' and over ten years old secondhand cars is supposed to start in October this year (2020).

The Government is of the view that the new amendments will boost Ghana's Automobile Manufacturing Programme which is highly beneficial as compared to the losses since several car assembling plants have shown interest to set up in the country.

But according to the Union, it is still insisting on the amendment of some aspects of the Customs Amendment Act 2020 which bans the importation of secondhand cars of over tens years old, and salvage cars (locally called "accident cars").

At a press conference held in Accra, the President of the Union, Mr. Eric Kweku Boateng in addressing the media reiterated their decision to embark on a massive demonstration if government refuses to listen to their plea with regards to the ban on secondhand cars as stated by government in the Customs Amendment Act 2020.

Mr. Eric Kweku Boateng lamented that the initiative of the government would seriously affect the supply chain of the Automobile Industry including the welder, automobile electricians, car sprayer, spare parts dealers amongst others.

In addition, the Operations Director of the Union, Mr. Anthony Kofi Yankey indicated that, if government should proceed with the amendment, businesses of members would be seriously affected, and hence render them jobless in the automobile industry. Hence the need to speak and come out to demonstrate their displeasure on the issue at hand.

He said, "We have given government a two-week ultimatum to commit to reviewing the Customs Amendment Act 2020, and failure to do that, we will hit the streets and hold massive demonstration irrespective of COVID-19 uprise."

A statement issued by the government said, "The prohibition against the importation of salvage motor vehicles into the country under paragraph (b)  of subsection (1) of section 58 shall come into force, six months after the date of the coming into force of this Act."

It further stated, "The Minister, in consultation with the Minister of Trade may, by legislative instrument, specify the date on which a motor vehicle over ten years shall not be imported into the country. The date specified under subsection (3) shall not be earlier than six months after the first vehicle has been assembled under the Ghana Automobile Manufacturing Development Programme. The date specified under subsection (1) shall not be earlier than six months after the new motor vehicles manufactured under the Ghana Automobile Manufacturing Development Programme are made available. Also, arrangements have been made for the motor vehicles to be sold in accordance with the investment plans of the automotive manufacturers and assemblers registered under  the Ghana Automobile Manufacturing Development."

The government as part of its economic transformational agenda identified Vehicle Assembly and Automotive Components Manufacturing as a strategic anchor industry that will promote economic development in the country and provide incentives for auto manufacturers.

Therefore, the government launched the Ghana Automobile Development Policy, GAMDP, in August 2019 to promote the manufacture of automobiles for both the domestic market and the West African sub-region.
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