Flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama has said the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has started implementing policies in its manifesto, something he described as a ‘good thing’.
Speaking on Class FM September 14, Mahama made reference to some major decisions taken recently by the Akufo-Addo government concerning the ban on the importation of accident cars, the use of motorbikes for commercial purposes (Okada) and the teacher licensure exam, to make his point.
“They’ve started implementing our manifesto, it’s a good thing. What are manifestos used for? They are meant to improve the lives of people and, so, if they’ve seen things in there, in our manifesto that are beneficial to policy today, they can start implementing them.”
On the ban on accident cars, Mr Mahama said: “We think that the Customs Amendment Act was done deliberately to give advantage to vehicle assembly plants”.
“Now, the point is: you don’t favour foreign vehicle assembly plants and disadvantage your own automotive industry”, Mr Mahama noted, explaining: “A lot of people depend, for employment, on the industry in Ghana; that’s the Abossey Okai, Suame, Kokompe and all of them and, so, you don’t pass a bill that says that: one, you’re going to ban the importation of salvaged cars and that you’re going to raise the import duty”.
He continued: “And, indeed, the most inimical one is the 35 per cent import duty on second-hand vehicles”. It means that it is going to make these vehicles so expensive that everybody is forced to buy from the vehicle assembly plant but these vehicles that come, they have minor scratches on them; something has happened to it, though it is not very serious and we have a very good, well-experienced industry where they are able to fix these vehicles and make them like new”.
“You’re not going to give all that up for some semi-assembly plant. I hear the vehicle comes almost complete. The only things that are not there are the tyres and the engines. That is not technology transfer”, he intimated.
In his view, “even if you send vehicles like that to Kokompe or Suame Magazine, they can fix them, so, all they do is they put the tyres on and they take a pulley and drop the engine and bolt it down and then you have a car, duty-free, and I hear that the number of models they are doing is restricted but you can order other VW models and they give it to you duty-free even though they are not assembling them, they are not putting them together here”.