The defunct Kumasi Shoe Factory is being given a new lease of life as the Ghana Armed Forces takes over its operations under a partnership deal with a Czech Company, Knights.
Lieutenant General Joseph Henry Smith (Retired), Defence Minister, said a holding company Defence Industries Holding Company Limited (DIHOC) had been established for the purpose, and that 50-million-dollar credit had been secured to get the place running once again.
This was after he had officially performed the ceremony to mark the takeover of the factory in Kumasi on Friday. He said the initial manufacturing lines would concentrate on the development of the needs of soldiers and other security agencies including the police, fire service, the Customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Immigration Service and the other security agencies.
He added that DIHOC would be managed by qualified civilians as well as qualified retired service personnel who had the experience in the management of business enterprises. The concept, he said, was an indirect response to the governments new approach to public sector reform to create jobs for the people. It is very clear that we can solve the basic problem of unemployment if we put our minds to the task. The examples of Brazil, China and India have taught us that we should pursue the goal of self-sufficiency.
Brigadier-General Chris Kwadwo Ocran, Commanding Officer of the Northern Command, stated that the GAF had been supportive of the Civil Authority in a number of socio-economic activities such as the construction of bailey bridges and roads, medical outreach programmes, and disaster relief operations among others over the years. However, it is important that the GAF becomes proactive in the aspects of national socio-economic development needs and responding to threats to human security in the country, he stressed.
He indicated, however, that the venture the military was undertaking would not compromise the core business of the GAF.
He said DIHOC would employ the youth to avoid the problem of engaging themselves in social vices such as robbery.
Mr Miloslav Machalek, the Czech Ambassador to Ghana, said the initiative would help Ghana to build its industries to enable the country to make good use of its raw materials.
He expressed the hope that the venture would also improve the relations between Ghana and the Czech Republic. Mr Karl Laryea, CEO for Knights emphasized that DIHOC would build a five-megawatt plant of which only one megawatt would be used by the Company, with the rest sold to the Electricity Company of Ghana.
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