By Frank Amponsah
President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, has made a passionate appeal to members of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and the General Populist to be mindful of their investment choices describing as unrealistic investment offers that promise high returns, in some cases up to 15% return on investments.
The President made the appeal when he addressed Service Chiefs, Officers and Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces at the Burma Hall in Burma Camp, after presenting one hundred and forty (140) new vehicles to the Forces as part of government retooling agenda for the Ghana Armed Forces.
“As I sit here, I would like to turn 15% returns on my small monies every month, I would love it, but it is not realistic. So the plea I am making is that whenever you hear schemes that come to say they are going to give you money that is extraordinary in its returns, you have to be careful about patronizing it” the President said in answer to a question posed by an officer about what the President can do to help officers and staff of the Armed Forces who have lost their investments as a result of joining one investment scheme or the other. .
President Akufo Addo reiterated his administration’s Commitment to the Ghana Armed Forces indicating that it is unwavering and that the agenda to furnish the Forces with their many needs and wants is on cause. As part of the visit to the headquarters of the Ghana Armed Forces as the Commander in Chief, President Akufo Addo commissioned the newly refurbished Command Officers Mess.
President Akufo-Addo also indicated that an additional 48 vehicles, representing the second tranche of staff and operational vehicles to the Armed Forces, will be presented soon.
He noted that presentation “forms part of my government’s efforts to re-equip and retool the Armed Forces with the needed logistics to enable you discharges your duties more efficiently and more effectively.”
President Akufo-Addo also commissioned the newly constructed Command Officers’ Mess, a project started by the previous administration, and completed and fully furnished under the current leadership of the Ministry and Military High Command.
As Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, the President told the officers, men and women of the Armed Forces that “our vision of ensuring equitable distribution of development, progress and prosperity to all parts of the country can only be made possible in an atmosphere of peace and security. We are determined to continue in this vein, and meet the needs of the Armed Forces.”
“One of my first acts as President was to increase the United Nations Peacekeeping Troops contribution allowances from $30 to $35 per soldier per day. We also cleared the outstanding arrears of $13 million for all peacekeeping personnel, and ensured that the contingents in the Gambia were paid all their allowances in full,” he said.
Additionally, he told the gathering that Government has “settled the 11.1% of arrears due to the civilian employees, with effect from January 2018, and have ensured a 10% upward salary review for all personnel.”
The completion of the 3rd Phase of the 37 Military Hospital, President Akufo-Addo said, is receiving due attention, “and we are also focused on completing and commissioning the 500-bed Military Hospital in the Ashanti Region, and beginning the third phase of this project soon.”
On infrastructure, the President “work is on-going on the barracks regeneration projects. The four blocks of 16 flats each, for which I cut the sod during my last visit here, are between 60 to 75% complete.”
He continued, “As I indicated yesterday, in my message to Parliament on the state of the nation, we will provide the Army with 30 Otokar Armored Personnel Carriers (APC), and 6 fast patrol boats for the Navy. With respect to the Air Force, two of the M.I 17 helicopters have been sent for overhauling. One has returned, and the other will be in the jurisdiction shortly.”
“Funds have been released to extend the flying hours for the third helicopter. Similarly, when we took office, all three of the CASA C295 transport aircrafts had broken down. We have fixed one of them, and the remaining two have been sent out of the country for overhauling. One is due back in the country in April, and the other in October.”
President Akufo-Addo indicated further L.I 1332, which is seeking to change the length of service of the men and women of the other ranks of the Ghana Armed Forces from 25 to 30 years and the associated career progression plan, has been reviewed, laid and passed by Parliament, and will be implemented this year as planned.
“The effect of this policy is that troops can continue to serve for a maximum of 30 years, as opposed to the previous set duration of 25 years. However, one is permitted to apply to leave at any time, through the laid down procedure,” he added.
Before concluding, the President implored the Armed Forces to maintain their neutrality and professionalism guaranteed under the Constitution.
“Governments have term limits, and in a multi-party democracy, parties win and lose power. It is good for the health of the nation that this is so, and this is why the Armed Forces should not tie its well-being or otherwise to the fortunes of the ruling party of the day,” he said.
The President also called on the media to be circumspect in their reportage on the military, and desist from attributing political motives to matters that are purely professional.