…Prez Chides Opposition NDC,Says He Is More Focused
By Frank Amponsah
The president of the republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has taken a swipe at the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) chiding them to stop the falsehood and dirty allegations against his government.
He cited a clear example of the Norway Embassy building allegation being peddled about by the ranking Member of Foreign Affairs.
According to the President, such act by the opposition must stop because nothing from them will shake or deter the government from ensuring that the needful is done.
He said “They have made up their minds that they will continue to put up false information against his government in the upcoming years to distract them. I will never set up any committee of enquiry on that matter,” adding that documents clearly shows nothing has been spent on that project.
Meanwhile, responding to former president Mahama who sought to criticize the decision of the government to invest in drones to help with medical deliveries, President Nana Akufo Addo told the media yesterday that investing in drones to save lives is better than investing in Guinea Fowls which will fly to Burkina Faso.
For Former President John Dramani Mahama, he does not see the reason why the NPP government would prioritise flying blood with drones in the face of the numerous challenges confronting the health sector.
President Akufo-Addo said: “I prefer drones that fly carrying medicine to people in need of it, to investing in Guinea fowls that can miraculously fly to Burkina Faso – Nana Addo.”
He said this during an encounter with the press at the Jubilee House yesterday.
The President who was also commenting on the ban on illegal mining stressed the fact that the ban on galamsey has not been lifted, and will not be lifted.
According to President Akufo-Addo, it is the ban on legitimate small-scale mining that has rather been lifted, explaining that the ban on small-scale mining was never intended to be permanent.
He said: “It was to enable Government fashion a policy that would sanitise the sector, and ensure that, in future, small-scale mining, which has been with us for centuries, would not damage our environment. The measures announced last Friday do exactly that.”
The President however stressed that he cannot, and will not, give up on the fight to protect the environment and entreated the media and all well-intentioned Ghanaians to continue to join the fight to protect lands and water bodies.
On agriculture, the President noted that, for the first time in many years, there is an abundance of food on the market, coupled with low prices of foodstuffs, and, in some cases, there is a glut.
“We are currently exporting plantain to some of our neighbours. Quite a turnaround from when I was lamenting two years ago that we were importing plantains from Cote d’Ivoire. We also did not import a single grain of maize this year,” he added.
The President stated that radical measures are being taken to establish a solid infrastructure for agriculture, with the imminent availability of significant numbers of tractors and the enhancement of Agricultural Mechanisation Centres, the construction of 80 warehouses this year for the storage of surplus food, the revival of the National Food and Buffer Stock Company, and the recent establishment of the Commodities Exchange.
“We are on course to realizing the 1 million tonne mark for our cocoa production, and seeing to the increasing domestic processing of the product. Our alliance with Cote d’Ivoire, to change the dynamics of the global cocoa industry, is also on course to enable us, the producers, obtain an increasing share of the industry’s value chain. It is good news for our farmers,” he added.
He also said, “the existing narrow-gauge network, which had almost disappeared, and led to a generation of young Ghanaians hardly knowing about railways, is coming alive,” explaining that that rehabilitation work on the fifty-six (56) kilometre narrow gauge line from Kojokrom to Tarkwa through Nsuta is nearing completion, and will lead to the restoration of passenger rail services from Tarkwa to Takoradi for the first time since 2007.
“The freight service from the manganese mine at Nsuta to Takoradi is in operation, and the ongoing rehabilitation has also led to a spectacular reduction in the number of derailments and incidents that occur on the line,” he added.
Particularly touched by the enthusiasm of the workers, at his last visit to the Ghana Railway Company Ltd., President Akufo-Addo told the media that the company, with its own workforce, has started rehabilitation works on the seventy point eight (70.8) kilometre narrow gauge section of the Eastern Railway Line from Accra to Nsawam and Accra to Tema.
The President continued, “Rehabilitation of the Achimota to Tema section of the Line is approximately ninety percent (90%) complete, and test runs have commenced. Work is ongoing on the Achimota to Accra Central section of the line and the Achimota to Nsawam section, and I have been assured that this will be completed before the end of the year.”
As a result, he noted that ten (10) existing passenger coaches have also been refurbished, ready to be pressed into action when commuter services re-open on this line.
“We are not only rehabilitating the old narrow-gauge line. I am happy to report that the procurement process is far advanced to develop a new standard gauge line for the Eastern Railway Line and others for us to have a network that covers the whole country,” President Akufo-Addo indicated.
President Akufo-Addo also indicated that there is a lot of excitement and a lot of activity in the aviation sector, with the entry of two new private airlines offering services along the domestic routes.
He said Terminal 3, at Kotoka International Airport, is open for business and attracting a lot of positive comments.
“I expect that the managers of this facility will maintain it at the highest standards. The airports at Ho and Wa are ready, and we await the commercial flights that have been promised,” he added.
The President indicated also that there will be even greater excitement in the country when work on repairing and building many roads around the country intensifies.
The president said as the country have been making its voices heard on the international stage, some countries are beginning to take a chance on Ghana saying that “it is not every day that Volkswagen, Nissan and Sino-Truck offer to build assembly plants in your country round about the same time. We would have to demonstrate through our expertise, our work culture and attitude that they have taken the right decision. Systematically, we are also rolling out our 1-District-1-Factory policy of industrialisation. Thus far, seventy-nine (79) projects have been implemented under 1D1F, with another 35 going through credit appraisal by officials of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the financial institutions that are supporting the programme. Under the Stimulus Package, two hundred and thirty-seven million dollars ($237million) have been disbursed to 16 companies, with an additional thirty-five (35) being considered for support. The process of industrialization will be accelerated in the course of 2019.”
On the creation of new regions, he said the first such exercise by democratic, constitutional means in our history has made rapid progress, and, in a week’s time, voting will take place in the referenda to decide if we should have six new regions.
“I am grateful to the people who have put in all the hard work to bring us this far, and I trust that the new leadership of the Electoral Commission will pass well their first test of organizing a free, fair, transparent poll. I pray and expect that the voting will go off peacefully. There can be no excuse for any disturbance or violence.”
He said the people who seek new regions are not seeking to secede from Ghana – they are Ghanaian citizens who are seeking new administrative structures to guide their lives by a constitutionally-sanctioned process within the Ghanaian space.
“The Supreme Court has unanimously confirmed and validated the propriety of the process. Let us, then, leave them in peace to have their day, and see whether they can satisfy the high constitutional threshold for the creation of new regions.”