Gratis Foundation braces up to support vehicle assembly plants

Gratis Foundation is to position itself to manufacture vital vehicle suspension parts like springs to support the vehicle assembly plants in the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of Gratis Foundation, Mr Kofi AdjeiNtim, said this yesterday, when a delegation from the African Association of Automobile Manufacturers (AAAM) toured their headquarters in Tema.

They visited the mechanical workshop, computer numerical control unit, the foundry workshop among other departments.

The visit offered members of the association the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the operations of Gratis Foundation, and interact with staff to find areas they could cooperate in and improve capacity for mutual benefit.

MrNtim said in line with their vehicle suspension project some personnel from Gratis Foundation visited South Korea to explore opportunities and collaborate with partners.

MrNtim said though the COVID-19 disease slowed the progress of the project, management was poised to revive it in view of the enormous benefits for the country.

He noted that the government’s industrialisation agenda and the policy of encouraging major vehicle companies to set up vehicle assembly plants in particular, provided establishments in the engineering sector with capacity to produce auto parts, the opportunity to “rekindle their activities and prepare to take full advantage.”

The policy had so far attracted players like Nissan, VW, Toyota, Sino Truck etc to set up assembly plants in the country.

He said Gratis Foundation, an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry had technology solution centresin the various districts which undertake research, design and manufacture equipment for industry.

MrNtim said they also provided technology transfer and training in various areas of engineering. 

“For instance our auto centre in Koforidua, collaboration with Hyundai and a trucks service centre located in the Northern Region have been instrumental in the training of students studying auto mechanics and bringing solution to vehicle owners in the area,” he said.
The Chief Executive of AAAM, Dave Coffey, said the automobile sector was much specialised and held enormous promise, however, their visit was aimed at exploring partnership with organisations in the engineering sector to enter a niche area of the auto market and make great impact.

He said globally the vehicle market was very competitive and the best way to enter was through the aftermarket, targeting the production of items like batteries, car parts which could be produced in large volumes to justify return on investment.

“We focus on the expansion and deepening of the automotive industry across Africa by working with governments to shape policies and provide support that will attract investors, unlock the economic potential of the continent and align a global network of stakeholders committed to the development of the automotive industry,” he said.


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