His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo – the President of the Republic, cut the sod for the commencement of the National Barracks Regeneration Project on Friday, 30th June, 2017, in fulfillment of the pledge made in the 2016 Manifesto of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The Project aims at improving the living conditions of security personnel, through the rehabilitation and upgrading of the barracks and their living quarters, across the country.
To this end, President Akufo-Addo has announced that “an amount of GH¢26 million has been released for the take-off of the barracks regeneration programme”, for which reason the President was at the Burma Camp, in Accra, to cut the sod.
President Akufo-Addo made this known when he held his maiden durbar, as Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, with officers and other ranks of the Armed Forces.
Whilst acknowledging government’s awareness of the huge accommodation deficits within all garrisons of the Armed Forces, he stated that work is currently ongoing to improve the situation.
“As a start, the SSNIT housing projects for troops started in 2007, which stalled when the NPP Government left power in 2009, have been revived. The Ministry of Finance is processing outstanding debts owed to contractors, and, very soon, they will resume and complete work on the projects,” he said, drawing a spontaneous applause of approval from the gathering.
Additionally, the President noted that his government has set about the task of trying to complete the military hospital at Afari in Kumasi, and the building of a new one in Tamale to cater for the northern sector, with the cutting of the sod for its construction set for August 2017. The third phase of the 37 Military Hospital, he added, will also take place.
President Akufo-Addo recognised that the deficits being faced by the military establishment are not limited only to the area of infrastructure.
“There are critical funding deficits in all your undertakings, and government is determined to address these deficits to bolster your operational effectiveness. The funding, training and equipment of our Special Forces must be urgently improved to enable us deal with the ever present threat of terrorism,” he said.
The President continued, “Our maritime boundaries must, again, as a matter of urgency, be better protected. Our peace-keeping operations in D R Congo (MONUSCO), South Sudan (UNMISS) and Mali (MINUSMA GHAV) all need more resources.”
In sum, President Akufo-Addo indicated that a general upgrade of the Armed Forces, in terms of equipment, personnel and medical facilities, has to be undertaken urgently to provide the nation with the capacity to meet modern threats.
“It is my duty as Commander-in-Chief to see to it that this is done,” he reiterated.
Keep up the good work
Applauding the military for their contributions to the maintenance of law and order in the country, President Akufo-Addo urged them to keep up the good work to maintain the stable environment needed for economic growth and development.
“I know that concerns have been raised about the participation of troops in internal security duties such as Operations CALM LIFE and HALT which are conducted alongside the civil police. I daresay, under normal conditions, the military would not be expected to be involved in such operations; at least not on a regular basis”, he explained.
However, the President indicated that “these are not normal times, and the security threats facing all countries, and especially in our region, mean that the resources of our national security forces and the police service are stretched to the limit. This is why we need to continue the deployment of the military in support of the police for some time”.
Apart from the threat of global terrorism, which Ghana, President Akufo-Addo added, will be foolish to ignore, “our country is beset with key issues of human and environmental security that, if not addressed, would threaten our very existence as a people. The Armed Forces must, therefore, be well resourced and trained to support the civil authorities to contain these contemporary threats.”