The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has announced an increase in the allowances of Ghanaian peacekeepers from US$31 to US$35, effective January 2017, in fulfillment of a manifesto pledge of the New Patriotic Party in the run-up to the December 2016 elections.
Addressing the end-of-year get-together of the Ghana Armed Forces (WASSA), on Friday, March 10, 2017, President Akufo-Addo indicated a number of the pledges made in relation to the welfare of the Ghana Armed Forces have already been fulfilled within 2 months of his administrations’ life.
In realising the vision of a professional, well-disciplined and well-motivated Armed Forces, President Akufo-Addo noted that, during the first few weeks of his assumption of office, an amount of $13 million was released to clear the arrears owed peacekeepers, confident that “as I speak, no soldier is owed any monies arising from peacekeeping duties.”
The President, still on the matter of peacekeeping allowances, stated that “the decision has been taken to ensure that all military personnel, who embark on peacekeeping missions, will receive their allowances whilst on tour, and not when they arrive in Ghana after the completion of their duty tour.
No matter in which part of the world you find yourselves on peacekeeping duties, you will be paid your allowances there. That is the principle, and we are not going to go back on that. Peacekeeping monies are for peacekeepers.”
In fulfilment of the NPP’s manifesto pledge of improving the welfare of the Armed Forces, President Akufo-Addo indicated that his government “has increased the peacekeeping allowance, effective January 2017, from US$31 to US$35.”
This was met by spontaneous applause from the officers, men and women of the Armed Forces gathered at the venue.
The President also revealed that a legislative review of the Armed Forces (Amendment) Regulations of 1986 (LI 1332) has begun. Its purpose, he said, “is to extend the serving duration of “Other Ranks” from the current 25 years to 30 years, in fulfilment of the manifesto pledge we made. I want all Ghanaians to see me as a man of my word.”
In terms of military preparedness, the President indicated that his government will actively support contemporary training methods, that will not only keep the officers, men and women of the Armed Forces abreast with international military trends, but will also ensure that they remain the beacon of Armed Forces across the continent.
“We are committed to providing you with modern military equipment, which would complement the training you would receive. Government is also committed to enriching the human resource base of the Armed Forces by supporting initiatives that will provide further education for soldiers, sailors and airmen to enhance further their skills at protecting our territorial integrity,” he added
With reference to the Navy, President Akufo-Addo noted that the advent of oil and gas has made their role more critical, as they now have the added responsibility to protect Ghana’s waters and oil fields from new dangers.
In the presence of the Minister for Defence, Hon. Dominic Nitiwul, the President assured that his government is going to allocate the needed resources to the Navy to protect the country’s sea lines of communication, especially in the wake of current activities in the Gulf of Guinea, such as piracy, disruptions and destruction of oil/gas operations and installations, bunkering, drug trafficking and smuggling, among others.
He further assured that the Air Force will not be left out of the programme of resource enhancement, “so that we have an Air Force worthy of the name”.
In boosting the morale of the Armed Forces further, the 2017 ‘Asempa’ budget announced the “Barracks Regeneration Project”, which will refurbish and renovate all military barracks across the country. Additionally, more residential accommodation facilities would be put up in all the units to reduce the acute accommodation problem facing soldiers.
“A contented soldier is one whose remuneration does not unduly distract him from his mandate. My government intends to take your welfare seriously,” he said.
The President also added that action on the third phase of the 37 Military Hospital has begun, as this is to ensure that the hospital continues to provide first class healthcare for members of the Armed Forces and their families, and also for 37 to meet more effectively its function as a national emergency hospital.
“Government is also committed to constructing a new military hospital in Tamale to service the health needs of military personnel and their families in the northern sector of our country,” he said.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Obed Akwa expressed gratitude for the time the President spent with the forces assuring that GAF will use its skills to continue to protect the integrity of the country’s peace.