A Ghanaian industrialist, Apostle Dr Kwadwo Safo, is moving beyond the manufacturing of vehicles for exhibition purposes to commercial automobile production in an ambitious effort to venture into an industry dominated by world economic giants like the USA, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France and Korea.
From a current production level of two vehicles per year, the Apostle Safo Suaye Technology Research Centre (ASSTRC) intends to take the local automobile market by storm and increase production to 40 vehicles per month or 480 vehicles per year.
At the moment, construction work is underway at the ASSTRC at Gomoa Mpota in the Central Region for the installation of a new automobile assembling plant to begin the commercial production of various brands of Katanka vehicles in two years' time.
A Technical Officer at ASSTRC, Alfred Akutteh, who conducted a Daily Graphic team around the new automobile manufacturing site last Tuesday, said the consignment of the assembling plant was on the high sea and would be delivered by March, this year.
After the installation of the assembling plant, ASSTRC will train its workers on how to use the assembling plant, hoping that by 2015, it would be ready for production of the Katanka brand of vehicles.
But even before the equipment arrives at the port, Apostle Dr Safo is appealing for government support in respect of import duty exemption to cushion ASSTRC in its ambition to venture into commercial production of vehicles.
He said support from the government would enable the ASSTRC to help more youth, including university students and graduates, who had been making use of the practical training at the centre to realise their potential in life.
Apostle Dr Safo said he did not seek any reward for his initiatives, except to help his fellow Ghanaians and prove to the world that the black man was also capable of great exploits in the world of technology.
Since its establishment in 1971, the Kristo Asafo Mission, under the leadership of Apostle Dr Safo, has undertaken what is arguably the largest philanthropic campaign in the country, making huge donations in cash and kind to educational institutions, orphanages and many needy institutions.
It has also spearheaded many technological innovations with the manufacturing of the Katanka brand of vehicles, all without any government or external support
But Apostle Dr Safo is not perturbed by the lack of support, saying in spite of the challenges he might encounter, he would never be discouraged in his endeavours.
The Katanka brand of vehicles, according to Mr Akutteh, was designed to suit the local environment and interests.
All the parts of the Katanka brand of vehicles are produced locally with local materials in line with Apostle Dr Safo's philosophy that there is the need to tap the rich natural resources of the country for its development.
Already, the ASSTRC has successfully experimented the manufacturing of a car that has no engine and moves only with the aid of a solar-powered battery, without petrol and water.
The essence is to help the country save fuel for use by big vehicles and industries and for other purposes, while making the car very manageable for patrons in terms of cost.
Mr Akutteh also conducted the Daily Graphic team around the Electronic, Electricals, Mechanical, Designing and Carving, Moulding and Casting, Machine Shop, Automobile, Body Design, Auto Electrical and Welding sessions of the centre.
Apart from the automobile industry, Apostle Dr Safo is also taking his guts to the aviation and marine industries with an ambition to manufacture aircraft and marine vessels.
The dream of manufacturing aircraft was on course at the time the Daily Graphic team visited the ASSTRC as workers were seen busily working on the wing of the aircraft.