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The Vice President, Dr MahamuduBawumia, yesterday inaugurated 13 joint venture companies (JVC) formed under the Defence Industries Holding Company Limited (DIHOC), the private commercial entity of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).
With an investment portfolio of more than one billion dollars provided by the private companies, the JVCs which would embark on socio-economic development projects include DIHOC Footwear Division; DIHOC- Primesec Ghana Limited; Defence Electronics Technology Limited; DIHOC Black Swan International Limited and DIHOC Kenaki Manufacturing Company Limited.
The rest are DIHOC-McDan Logistics Solutions Limited; DIHOC Careworld Ghana Limited; DIHOC-Radi Ghana Limited; DIHOC-Hawkrad Limited; 360 Defence Builders Ghana Limited; DIHOC Energy West Ghana Limited; DIHOC Denzel Ghana Limited and DIHOC FCC Ghana Limited.
Expected to create about 15,000 jobs, the companies would undertake projects of value to GAF and the public including footwear manufacturing, infrastructure construction; assembling of electronic items such as computers and devices; manufacture of ammunition and assembling of armoured vehicles.
Others would develop an onshore Logistics Hub and an amusement park; dredge river bodies while the DIHOC CareWorld Ghana Limited, for instance, would undertake the “The Greater Good Project” which consists of a 1500 bed hospital, health farms, a pharmaceutical company and a veterans’ village.
At the same ceremony attended by the representatives of the partnering companies, the Vice President cut the sod for the construction of a Defence Office Complex, a modern indoor firing range and legal office complex for GAF, valued at GH¢150 million.
Assisted by the Chief of Staff, AkosuaFremaOseiOpare, he also commissioned construction equipment, provided by the Jospong Group of Companies to boost the work of the 48 and 49 Engineer Regiments of GAF.
In his address, Vice President Bawumia said the companies end the era whereby GAF and other security establishments depended mainly on the import of security hardware and equipment for their operations.
The Armaments acquisition through sales and purchase agreements, he said, raised several challenges including maintenance and huge cost that undermine the efficiency of the GAF.
Noting the huge, but untapped technical human resource of the GAF, he said, the government gave the DIHOC the needed boost to get 12 more companies to the footwear division, which already existed, to catalyse the industrialisation of the country.
“The business community is encouraged to go into more such collaborations with the Armed Forces to develop a diversity of production value chains that will benefit all, both military and civilians alike,” he said.
The Vice President lauded the GAF for its ingenuity and pledged the support of the government to make the joint venture companies a bedrock of a defence industrial complex.
Shedding light on DIHOC, the Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, said it was established as a limited liability company in 2010 under the Civil-Military Collaboration for Socio-Economic Development (CIMICSED) in line with Article 210 (3) of the 1992 constitution that allows GAF to embark on industrial development projects.
Under the policy direction of the Department of Defence Industries of GAF, he said, the objectives included the establishment of a centre of excellence for practical research and development in various aspects of human and socio-economic security needs of Ghana as well as export excess goods produced.
He said DIHOC was in discussion with potential partners to establish an industrial park, an iron rod manufacturing plant, a garment factory, cattle ranch, fish farming and other agribusinesses.
For his part, the Deputy Defence Minister, Kofi Amankwa-Manu, who is the Board Chairman of the seven-member DIHOC board members, appealed to all stakeholders for support.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR