Russia - Ghana relations/

Russian Vehicles Launched - as Minister Lauds Coy

Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra), October 23, 2003, Joseph Coomson

The country's trade deficit with Russia declined to $7.88 million in 2002 from $13.24 million in 2001, the deputy minister of Trade, Industry and Presidential Special Initiative, Mr. Kwadwo Affram Asiedu, has said.

The minister said this when he launched Gazelle's vehicles, Gaz, Sobol and Volga vehicles in Ghana last Tuesday in Accra.

He said the total export from Ghana has been decreasing steadily for the past six years.

Imports from Russia are mainly motor vehicles and bikes, bicycles, tyres, machinery, chemical fibres, fibrics among others. The country exports to the Russian market raw cocoa beans, cocoa butter, cocoa power manganese ore and concentrates plied wood among others.

Stressing on the contribution of Russia to the Ghanaian economy, he said seven projects had been registered at the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) at the end of the second quarter this year.

He said Gazelle's, Gaz, Sobol and Volga vehicles are embodiments of good design, durability, ruggedness, space, economy and high performance.

He noted that the high standard of those vehicles should be seen as a challenge to the country's manufacturers to integrate into the global economy by manufacturing high quality goods.

He also emphasized that the need for aggressive human resource development and training in the area of research, technology, and standardization and industrial quality control should not be overlooked.

He congratulated Isadyss Ventures for importing these vehicles into the country and asked the venture to provide efficient sales service.

The Executive Director of Isadyss Ventures and GAZImpex Ghana, based in Tema, and also the representative of Gazelle, Alhaji Abass Issah, said the vehicles have luxurious exterior design, give the occupants elegancy, which enhances the visual impression of quality and substance. The interior design has a more sophisticated, luxurious interior insignia with the use of comfortable upholstery materials.

Russian made vehicles are strongly built and would meet the demand of an average Ghanaian. GAZ, SOBOL and VOLGA vehicles can stand any type of the weather of the tropics and it is good for the construction industry and this would help the country achieve industrial growth, he added.

He said his company would liaise with financial and leasing companies to assist small and medium firms to source funding to purchase some of the vehicles.

"We hope to sell about a hundred vehicles in the first year and to increase the number in the future."

He asked the minister to help them to import and sell their vehicles. "Arrangements have been made with some commercial banks to put in place hire purchase systems and also for people to buy on credit," he added. The price of the vehicles ranges from $6,000 to $17,000 depending on customers' specifications and he believes they are within the reach of the average Ghanaian and companies.

He said for the time being, the company has taken delivery of 12 models in sizable quantities, which included mini-buses, trucks, saloon cars and ambulances. The manufacturers of these vehicles started operations in 1929 and have had joint engineering and architectural construction with Ford Motors, The Chronicle learnt. They are the first automobile manufacturers in Russia to introduce in-line production of vehicles.

GAZ, SOBOL and VOLGA vehicles have been modified over the years to serve the needs of the people. The minister then launched the vehicles, which has been described as the most affordable in the world.

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