Ghana’s Military High Command in consultation with the Ministry for Defence, have commenced a program dubbed Civil-Military Collaboration for Socio-Economic Development (CIMICSED), to embark on industrial development projects, to create a Defence Industrial Complex with the potential of creating over 15,000 direct jobs and an investment portfolio of over One Billion Dollars, to serve the defence and security needs of Ghana, Africa and nations across the world.


A ceremony to inaugurate thirteen (13) Defence Industrial Companies was held on Monday, 4 April, 2022, at Burma Hall, Burma Camp, Accra, with the commissioning of engineering equipment – being a partnership between the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and JOSPONG Group of Companies, known as 360 DEFENCE BUILDERS GHANA LTD, which would seek to build horizontal and vertical structures in Ghana.


The other 12 Public Private entities under the Defence Industries Holding Company (DIHOC), are DIHOC Footwear Division – footwear production; DIHOC–Primesec Ltd – vertical and horizontal construction; Defence Electronics Technology (DEWTECH) – Computers, Tablets, Phones, Prepaid Meters and Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) devices assembling; DIHOC–Black Swan International – small calibre ammunition manufacturing;


The others are DIHOC–Kenaki Manufacturing (DIKMAC) – armoured vehicles, armoured bullion vans and weapons assembling; DIHOC–McDan Logistics Solutions – ultramodern onshore logistics hub and amusement park development; DIHOC–Radi – beachfront district development; DIHOC–Energy West Ghana Limited – oil and gas service stations construction and operation.


The rest are; DIHOC–Careworld – “The Greater Good Project” (development of a 1500-Bed Hospital, Health Farms, Pharmaceutical Company and Veterans Village); DIHOC–Hawkrad – mixed-use commercial complex development; DIHOC–Denzel Ghana Limited – “Restoring Ghana Project” (dredging river bodies in the country) and DIHOC – Financial & Construction Company Ghana.


Speaking as the Guest-of-Honour at the function, the Vice President of Ghana and Chairman of the Armed Forces Council – His Excellence (HE) Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, said GAF and all other security establishments in the country, have depended mainly on the import of security hardware and equipment for their operations.


The Veep said armaments, such as armoured vehicles, weapons, ammunition, communication systems, are all procured from external entities, mostly through Sales and Purchase Agreements, with foreign suppliers, while most foreign suppliers do not keep local logistics support presence, to help support and maintain pricey and sophisticated armaments, even when there are donations from other countries.


Although GAF is resourceful of human capital in fields such as Administration, Architecture, Business Logistics Management, Engineering, Medicine, Nursing, etc. the aforementioned challenges often shorten the lifespans of assets and reduce optimum functioning during use in some instances, as there is little skill-transfer and no technology transfer in such arrangements with foreign suppliers, he said.


Citing history to justify the participation of the military in commerce, HE Dr Bawumia stated that technologies such as Jet Engine, Drones, GPS, the Walkie-Talkie, Nuclear Technology, Digital Camera, the Ambulance, Blood Transfusion, the Computer, Internet, Wrist Watch, Super Glue, and Mosquito Spray, all originated from the military.


Extoling the military for its uncompromising virtue of dedication, discipline, honesty, precision and productive skills, the Vice President opined that many countries, like Egypt, Israel, Nigeria, Turkey, South Africa and most developed and middle-income countries, have leveraged their militaries to partner their virtues with the efficiencies of the private sector, to catapult their development through “defence industrial complexes”.


Opening the program, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), GAF – Vice Admiral (V/Adm) Seth Amoama said, to effectively manage the human security challenge confronting the country, it is important that GAF becomes more proactive in some aspects of Ghana’s socioeconomic environment.


The Defence Chief also affirmed that the establishment of DIHOC, conforms to all the necessary legal requirements; being duly approved by the Armed Forces Council, provisions of the 1992 Constitution, particularly Article 210 (3), which lends credence to the proposition for GAF to engage in developmental projects in the country, and to separate the core mandate of GAF from DIHOC.


He added that the Defence Industries Department (DID) of GAF mainly provides policy direction, guidance and coordination, that are required to ensure that DIHOC remains focused in its activities and mission; whiles the strategic goal of the Military High Command is to create the environment that will enable GAF engage in Civil-Military collaboration for Socio-Economic Development projects, in addition to the military’s traditional roles of defending the nation’s territorial integrity.


The CDS stated that the set objectives include the following; 1) Provide most of the logistics needs of GAF and other security services in a cost-effective manner; 2) Produce items of strategic importance and value to GAF, other security services and the general public; 3) Establish a Center of Excellence for consistent and practical research and development in various aspects of human and socio-economic security needs of Ghana.


The objectives are also to 4) Export goods produced in excess of local needs; 5) Create an avenue for employment, not only for retired military personnel but for all others and 6) Undertake poverty alleviation programs in support of the civil authority.


The relationship between the Ghana Armed Forces and DIHOC is therefore one of policy direction, strategic guidance and coordination, but the Military High Command is not involved in the day-to-day running of the company, but for the CDS’ role as a Board Member of the holding company, Admiral Amoama, emphasized.


Three (3) projects worth USD 20 Million – DID Office Complex, an Indoor Firing Range (to be built at the Military Academy Training Schools (MATS) and the Legal Office Complex (to be built at the General Headquarters) – are to be undertaken, as support from Government.


DIHOC is also in discussion with potential partners to increase the number of companies for the establishment of the Industrial Park, to include an iron rod manufacturing plant, a garment factory, development of a 20,000-acre land cattle ranch, fish farming, an aquafarming project and a tourist site; a solar project; development of an integrated economic smart city, as well as other Agro Businesses.


THE DIHOC STORY


DIHOC started about a decade ago, as a holding Company with a plan to establish other companies, at the end resulting into an industrial setup.


At the beginning, the Military High Command thought it wise to pilot one of the companies, assess its performance, draw lessons and operationalize the rest.


A period of 8 years starting from the 1st factory which is DIHOC Footwear Division.


The DIHOC structure is headed by a Board of Directors (BOD), with a management team headed by a Group Chair/CEO, coordinating the affairs of all the joint venture companies.


The joint venture capital companies established, have their own BOD and a Management team each, thus operating independently.


DIHOC after the footwear division had been operationalized, with several efforts aimed at operationalizing the rest.


In the year 2018, the Minister of Defence – Mr Dominic Bingab Aduna Nitiwul decided that there had been enough of the case-studies of the footwear division, hence directed the start of the rest.


In 2018, Major General Thomas Oppong-Peprah led a team of Brigadier General (Brig Gen) Amoah-Boakye and Brig Gen Osei Owusu to compile all the business plans and proposals that DIHOC had been working on, from inception.
The Minister for Defence took interest and himself, led a delegation to Israel, to study the production of armoured vehicles, at the Israeli Aerospace Industries.


Upon their return, an agreement was signed, after the advice of the Attorney-General that; the interest of the Ghana Armed Forces should be given to DIHOC to hold in trust.


Dignitaries present at the function included the Chief of Staff at the Presidency – Mrs Akosua Frema Osei Opare, Deputy Minister for Defence and Board Chairman, DIHOC– Mr Kofi Amankwa-Manu, Chief of the Air Staff – Air Vice Marshal Frank Hanson; Chief of Staff, GHQ – Major General Nicholas Peter Andoh, and many other Senior Officers, serving and retired.

By Kofi Ampeah-Woode

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