By Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Burma Camp, Accra
The President of The Republic and Commander-In-Chief (C-In-C) of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has reiterated his bourne to bequeath to the nation a much more resourced military than he met it when he assumed office.
The C-In-C outlined actions already taken, those underway and in the foreseeable future, when he addressed GAF General Headquarters’ (GHQ) 2018 West Africa Soldiers Social Activities (WASSA) at Burma Camp on Thursday, 21st March 2019.
Excellency President Akufo-Addo singled out the 6th Battalion of Infantry (6BN) for commendation for being an ever present feature and an invaluable part of the peace process in Yendi, in ensuring largely, the incident free funerals of the Yaa Naas Mahamadu Abdulai IV and Yakubu Andani II and also overseeing the enskinment of a new Yaa Naa Mahama Abukari II, for the Dagbon Kingdom.
Listing efforts being made by Government to augment developments in the military, the C-In-C stated that the fulfillment of promises earlier made to the GAF is a sign that his administration intends to stay true to all pledges made.
“We have increased the UN peacekeeping troops contributions allowances from $30 to $35 to a soldier per day, cleared the outstanding arrears of $13million for all peacekeeping personnel, now paying your allowances at the place of operations as you wished, settled the 11.1% arrears due to the Civilian Employees and effected a 10% upward review for all personnel”, the C-In-C said.
On projects underway, the President mentioned works on the 3rd phase of the 37 Military Hospital, the construction of the 500-bed military hospital in the Ashanti Region (the 3rd phase of that project is to begin soon) and works on the Barracks Regeneration Project – which is four blocks with 16 flats each – being between 60 to 75% complete.
In the area of equipment and transport, the first tranche of 140 vehicles ordered for GAF has been delivered last month, with the rest to be delivered in April, 2 MI.17 helis are now functioning after being overhauled, with funds being released to extend the flying hours of a third helicopter and all 3 of the CASA C295 Transport aircrafts which had broken down for over six years, being worked on – one has been fixed and is operational, another due back in April and the other in November.
On projections, the State is to provide the Army and Navy with 30 OTOKAR Armed Personnel Carriers (APC) and 6 fast patrol boats, respectively, as well as start the construction of a Forward Operating Base (FOB) at Enzulebu in the Western Region to oversee the nation’s hydrocarbon resources, this year.
The C-In-C commended the Minister of Defence and Member of Parliament (MP) for Bimbilla, Dominic Nitiwul, for being ‘a stalwart champion of the welfare and progress of the GAF’, and the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) – Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) Obed Boama Akwa, as an ‘intrepid promoter of the interests of the GAF’.
MR Nitiwul, in his speech, said that he had laid in parliament, a loan of $100million, which is intended to change the face of the Ghana Military Academy (GMA) and that the President is expected to cut the sod for projects in April that would have part of that loan used to construct accommodations for Other Ranks (ORs) across all garrisons of GAF (in Accra, Kumasi, Sunyani, Takoradi, Tamale, and Tema).
General Akwa said that GAF celebrates WASSA at the end of every year, to create a congenial social environment for Command to appreciate the contributions of all ranks as the military and Civilian Employees, extend warm gratitude to the government and all institutions whose support and goodwill contribute to the military’s achievements during the year.
CDS Akwa opined that crime and insurgency have become more sophisticated worldwide and it takes constant training, good modern equipment, the development of pragmatic strategies and the cooperation of stakeholders, for GAF to keep pace with these changing dynamics.
“In this regard, we applaud the demonstrated commitment of the government, in retooling GAF, to enhance our operational capabilities and I dare say that yet more would be required”, said the CDS.
“We acknowledge that the past year was quite challenging in terms of our responsibilities, viz-a-viz the limited resources and other constraints within which we had to operate, however, as always, we persevered in our capabilities in a manner that ensured the attainment of our mission”, Lt Gen Akwa said.
We appreciate the cooperation from sister security agencies, governmental agencies, the diplomatic corps, allied foreign governments, as well as local and international private corporate institutions.
The CDS finally stated the readiness and commitment of GAF to serve the people of Ghana to ensure peace and security across the country at all times even to the peril of their lives.
Some of the host of dignitaries present at the event included Ministers of State, MPs, the Inspector General of Police, David Asante Apeatu, service chiefs, retired CDSs, amongst many.