Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Monday inaugurated 12 Joint Venture companies under the auspices of the Defence Industries Holding Company Limited (DIHOC) of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) to lay the foundations for a defence industrial complex.
The companies, engaged in various activities, included DIHOC- Primesec Ghana Limited, Defence Electronics Technology Limited, DIHOC – Black Swan International Limited and DIHOC – Kenaki Manufacturing Company Limited.
The others are DIHOC-McDan Logistics Solutions Limited, DIHOC-Careworld Ghana Limited, DIHOC-Radi Ghana Limited and DIHOC-Hawkrad Limited.
The rest are 360 Defence Builders Ghana Limited, DIHOC Energy West Ghana Limited, DIHOC – Denzel Ghana Limited and DIHOC FCC Ghana Limited.
There are also several ongoing arrangements to increase the number of companies under the industrial complex, including the development of 20,000 acres of land into a cattle ranch and other agro-businesses; a garment factory; iron rods manufacturing factory; an aquafarming project, a tourist site and a solar project.
According to officials of the Ministry of Defence and the Ghana Armed Forces, the partnership between the GAF and private sector companies was designed to provide most of the logistics needs of the Ghana Armed Forces and other security services in an efficient and orderly manner.
They are also to produce items of strategic importance and value to the GAF and other security agencies and Ghanaians in general, establish a centre of excellence for consistent and practical research and development in various aspects of human and socio-economic security needs of the country.
The companies will also export goods produced more than local needs, create an avenue for employment, not only for retired military personnel but other citizens, undertake poverty alleviation programmes in support of the civil authority and identify emerging or existing threats to socio-economic, social and human security and address them.
Launching the partnerships on Monday at Burma Camp, Accra, Vice President Bawumia said, the GAF and all other security services in the country had depended largely on imports of security hardware and equipment for their operations, raising several challenges that undermined the efficiency of the GAF.
Most of the foreign suppliers, according to the Vice President, do not have a local logistics support presence in Ghana to maintain these very pricey and sophisticated armaments.
Consequently, the maintenance and support required for these defence and security assets’ effectiveness are not readily available.
Maintenance and logistical support for these assets, Dr Bawumia indicated, most often came with a huge cost for the government, even when these ammunitions were supposedly donations from other countries.
“Most importantly, these challenges often shorten the lifespans of these assets and reduce optimum functioning during use in some instances. Also, there is little skill transfer and no transfer-of-technology in such Sales and Purchase arrangements with foreign suppliers,” he pointed out.
The GAF-private sector partnership, Vice President Bawumia said sat firmly with the “One District, One Factory” initiative and the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
Dr Bawumia said the military, which has great resourceful human capital in various fields— Engineering, Architecture, Business Administration, Logistics Management, Nursing, Medicine among others and a reputation for discipline, ingenuity and innovation—was a big win for Ghana.
“These are all joint venture entities formed between private companies and the Ghana Armed Forces. Therefore, this development presents a beautiful synergy between the efficiencies availed by the private sector and the institutional discipline and diligence availed by the Armed Forces in driving the industrialisation strategy of the government.
“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 civilian citizens alike,” he added.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, expressed delight that more than a decade after the establishment of DIHOC as a holding limited liability company, it was now beginning to take concrete steps towards achieving its objectives and pledged the commitment of the men and women of the Ghana Armed Forces to its success.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD