Management of the Neoplan Ghana Ltd (NGL) says the company will collapse if it is not revamped under the government’s One District One Factory policy as a matter of urgency.
The bus assembling company was established in 1974 by the Government of Ghana under a joint venture with Gottlob Awaeter of West Germany “to produce tropical buses to help the transport sector of the Ghanaian economy”.
The Ghana government remains the majority shareholder in the company though Gottlob sold its shares to MAN-AG, which also offloaded its stake to the Fadoul Group in 2013.
The year 2002, was the last that the company had a major government contract; “to build 450 DAF/VDL buses for the Metro Mass Transit Limited”, under President John Agyekum Kufuor.
NGL boasts a blissful past of producing some 4000 buses for government institutions and the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU); the reason two major bus terminals in Kumasi and Accra are still called “Neoplan Station”.
NGL’s buses are built on the chassis of IFA, Magnerius, Scania, Iveco, Mercedes Benz, DAF/VDL and MAN Diesel, and are built with “solid square tubes and quality materials which make the buses so strong to reduce any serious impact of accidents on passengers”, a statement from the company copied to Mynewsgh.com read in part.
The company says the government’s newfound love for foreign buses “which are not built according to the nature of our roads and are full of fibres” is a contributory factor to the high fatality in road accidents in the country.
The statement lists a number of disadvantages of importing foreign buses which include, the use of huge foreign exchange, non-availability of spare parts, creation of market for overseas bus manufacturers and high costs of the buses as compared to those built by the NGL.
Why NGL is ideal for 1D1F
1. NGL is the only bus producer in West Africa with a well trained workforce, sustainable low labor costs and reliable products (buses) – built for the African condition.
2. The location and design of NGL facilities in Accra and Kumasi are first class; the effort and cost to set up a similar operation today would be almost impossible.
3. It would be financially prudent (cost efficient) to revamp NGL than establishing a new company, of similar nature, taking the existing facilities and resources into account.
4. NGL offers a unique offering for the ECOWAS region in terms of being a capable bus manufacturer.
5. Some of the buses built by NGL years ago are still on the road and are in extremely good conditions even though the road conditions are extremely poor- any body ex-Europe would fall apart within a year.
6. NGL offers a robust product with a very good reputation of the brand in the market. Thus, its market reputation is excellent.
7. The buses produced by NGL are designed to withstand the harsh African conditions; it’s a reliable product with a very good reputation in the market.
8. Production skills are satisfactory for the type of buses being produced.
9. The staffs employed are skilled in respective areas of employment with the standard of workmanship being very good.
10. NGS is a viable strategic investment for the government to realize its goal of providing buses to boost the transport sector as well as implementing the 1D1F industrialization policy for bus building in the Ashanti region and Ghana at large.
The company says it can employ more than 1000 workers at full capacity on a shift system.
It has suggested to the government to make it a policy for all state institutions to “buy all their buses from NGL, make all their repairs and maintenance of buses from NGL and make NGL the sole bus body repairer for government institutions”.
Since its contract to produce 450 buses for the MMT ended in 2010, the company and its staff have had not much to do, apart from maintenance and repairs of accident damaged buses.