The Dutch Government has committed to absorb the cost of testing the roadworthiness of the SMATI Turtle 1 prototype vehicle in the Netherlands.
The Ghanaian model vehicle was designed and manufactured by artisans of Suame Magazine in Kumasi using simple local tools from a cluster of engineering workshops in the light industrial enclave.
The car was shipped to Holland last April for international exhibition and promotion to attract investors for large scale commercial production to serve the African market.
The project is a partnership between the Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organization (SMIDO) and Dutch-based Aardschap Foundation.
According to the Consultant to SMIDO, Nyaaba-Aweeba Azongo, the initiative has received its greatest boost and support from the Dutch Government “because they have been impressed with the concept of the SMATI Turtle 1 as an impressive outcome and a boost to Suame Magazine’s quest to manufacture a Ghanaian car model for the African Market”.
The test is normally conducted for giant auto-manufacturing companies due to the huge cost involved.
“With the current arrangements, officials from the RDW mechanics [National Service for Vehicles] in the Netherlands are set to do a full test on the national test site in the Netherlands next month at the expense of the Government of the Netherlands”, he said.
Mr. Azongo also disclosed there has been significant progress by SMIDO to partner a car company in Kenya to build the SMATI Turtle 1 as an African brand.
Acting President of SMIDO, Sarpong Boateng, who doubles as the Chairman of the Mechanical Association of Suame Magazine has enjoined the Ghanaian Government to emulate the gesture by the Dutch Government.
He wants the government to assist SMIDO to establish the Suame Magazine Automatics Technical Institute (SMATI), which is currently being branded at the international level by this vehicle.
“The SMATI intends to formalize the apprenticeship system as an alternative institution for admissions to absorb the huge backlog of school dropouts between the JHS-SSS and the SSS-Tertiary educational streams into practical engineering and entrepreneurial training to serve Ghana and the African industrialization and employment”.
The artisans, he noted can contribute to nation building and promotion of Ghana’s international image.