The Ghana Heavy Equipment Limited has reached an agreement with a Chinese global motor firm, ZEV, for the assemblage of buses and coaches in Ghana under a joint company called Ghana Bus Company Limited.
The coaches will be produced for local use, as well as for export to other African countries under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Already, the Metro Mass Transit Company has two of such coaches on trial, while other transport companies have started making arrangements to acquire these coaches, the Bono Regional Minister, Mrs Evelyn Ama Kumi-Richardson, has disclosed.
“All these efforts would consolidate the gains already made and the ultimate accomplishment of the President’s vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid,” she said at the inauguration of an imposing bus terminal, constructed at GH¢3 million by the VIP JEOUN Company Limited, in Sunyani.
The structure, which has offices, a passenger’s lounge, a 20-bed restroom for drivers, a loading bay, among other facilities on a large yard, is the first of the proposed state-of-the-arts bus terminals to be constructed by the company in all the 16 regional capitals within the next 10 years.
The physical infrastructure was inaugurated by Mrs Kumi-Richardson, who called for a synergy among public and private players to ensure that people and goods were moved safely from one place to another.
She said there must be a concerted effort to ensure that the infrastructure and logistical requirements were not compromised to safeguard the sustainability of the value chain of the transport industry.
She said the government had been committed to providing a new integrated transport system to support the growing population.
Mrs Kumi-Richardson said the coming into force of the Ghana Automotive Policy would save the country some amount that would otherwise be committed every year to the importation of motor vehicles into the country.
She said in 2018, motor vehicle importation amounted to $1.5 billion and described that as a huge drain on the local currency.
The Bono Regional Commander of the Motor Traffic and Transport Department of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Stephen Sarfo Tenkorang, described travelling by the VIP buses as one of the safest means of road transport in the country.
He urged the company to work towards a zero road crash record within a year.
He commended the company for the provision of a rest accommodation for drivers in the new edifice, stressing that it would reduce the stress of driving long distances without proper rest.
A Director and shareholder of the company, Mr Yaw Amponsah Marfo, expressed worry about how other transport companies were illegally using the “VIP” brand.
He pleaded with the Ghana Police Service to check every bus with the VIP inscription to ascertain whether they were registered under the VIP fleet.
“This, we believe, will stop the misinformation in the public domain that every red bus is a VIP bus and every VIP bus belongs to VIP JEOUN,” he said.
Mr Marfo entreated the media to always investigate before labelling accidents involving red buses as VIP buses, explaining that recent accidents which claimed lives on the Techiman-Kintampo and Accra-Suhum roads, and the one that plunged into the Oti River at Dambai did not belong to VIP JEOUN.