Ghanaian car company, Kantanka, has been blamed for failing to penetrate the local market following efforts by German car maker VW to set up in Ghana. The New Patriotic Party (NPP) man and an insider in the Akufo-Addo government has said Kantanka Automobile has not been proactive in engaging the government to purchase their cars.
he discussion about Kantanka cars has been triggered by the President’s announcement that German brand Volkswagen (VW) will be setting up an assembling plant in Ghana.
The announcement has been applauded in some quarters on social media but it has also raised questions about government’s commitment to helping the indigenous car company.
Critics say the President’s much-touted ‘Ghana beyond aid’ is hollow if it cannot empower local businesses and entrepreneurs.
The Chief Executive Officer of Kantanka Automobile Limited, Kwadwo Safo Jnr joined in a tweet ‘ “Why is it so difficult for Africans to support their own?’
But Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko who uses a Kantanka car himself, has said the company is responsible for its weak penetration in the Ghana market.
He said the company has a great opportunity to expand because the Finance Minister, who controls the public purse is also a client of the local company.
“He is happy with the vehicle he is using”, the NPP man revealed the Minister’s assessment to him in private discussions. If Kantanka Automobile Ltd was proactive enough, it would present a proposal to the Finance Minister, the Founder of Danquah Institute said. Mr. Otchere-Darko who owns pro-government newspaper, The Stateman, said the indigenous company which unveiled its first car in 2008 should not expect government to engage it.
Nana Akufo-Addo after test-driving some Kantanka cars during a visit ahead of the 2016 elections, declared “When I win the 2016 election and become President, my government will support local, Ghanaian manufacturing companies.”
“I think they will get a positive response”, Gabby Otchere-Darko told host of the Joy FM Super Morning Show on Monday.
Mr. Otchere-Darko who owns pro-government newspaper, The Statesman, said the indigenous company which unveiled its first car in 2008 should not expect government to engage it.
Kwadwo Safo Jnr. in June 2017 met Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia at the Flagstaff House and complained that the company pays the same duties and levies as charged on imported cars.
During the meeting, he also showcased models manufactured and assembled by the company such as an SUV, Mini SUV, and Pick-ups. A month later, the Trades Ministry announced it had purchased a 4X4 Kantanka Onantefo SUV.
The Trades Minister, Alan Kwadwo Kyrerematen, said the purchase of the car was to make a statement of government’s commitment to help local industries. Adwoa Safo, daughter of the founder of the Kantanka Automobile, Apostle Kwadwo Safo Kantanka, is Procurement Minister in the Akufo-Addo government.
High profile Ghanaians who use Kantanka cars include the Asantehene and Okyenhene who both own the Kantanka Onantefo valued at over ¢130,000.
Gabby Otchere-Darko said the local automobile company’s business model is faulty because it does not target the mass market.
Kantanka Automobile which began commercial sale of the Kantanka cars in November 2015, has been criticised as selling at uncompetitive prices. The Kantanka K71 is selling between ¢65,000 – ¢70,000. The luxury version, Omama Luxury is sold at ¢130,00. Toyota showroom in Accra displays a brand new 1.8 litre Toyota Corolla at ¢155,000 while a used Toyota is sold around ¢35,000.