The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) is crying out for government to pump in more money in addition to normal budgetary allocations to enable it fast track all developmental projects in various military installations countrywide.
It is also requesting that immediate steps be taken to release funds for the acquisition of modern and sophisticated logistics to protect the country’s oil fields in order to avert situations pertaining in the oil rich delta of neighbouring Nigeria.
It lamented that financial assistance by government was inadequate but yet still much is expected of them.
GAF has therefore urged Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and the Interior who paid their first official visit to the Ministry of Defence at Burma Camp Tuesday to muster courage and see to the approval of funds for the execution of its elaborate security projects.
Other installations members toured were the Military Academy and Training Schools (MATS) and the 37 Military Hospital where they saw dilapidated structures being occupied by trained Officer Cadets and students of the Nursing Training College at the hospital.
Addressing the Committee at Burma Camp, the sector Minister, Lt. Gen. Joseph Henry Smith (Rtd) pointed out that the GAF fell short of capacity and equipment hence the need to keep pace with such expansions. “But with your support; we are encouraged to work at achieving our goals”, he said. Although, as a developing country revenue is disbursed to meet large demands for infrastructure, health and education, “defence only comes in as a small fraction.”
“Hon. Members, for the next five years however, we need to shift a significant proportion to defence because we have new threats to confront with our discovery of oil. In Nigeria, nearly one-tenth of the country’s annual production of oil is lost every year through theft and smuggling,” he emphasized.
By this development, Lt. Gen. Smith noted that Ghana ought to equip and hone its defence system to protect the oil.
He further indicated that “when you find us presenting a stream of huge requests to Parliament for approval, it would not be on account of greed but would only be investing to protect our wealth for ourselves and children.”
The Ministry, he said was preparing to deliver improved services with greater efficiency, effectiveness and enhanced accountability to both Parliament and Civil Society.
“Our goal is to offer prospects for improved integration of defence into the national development agenda. Our migration into our new building is synchronized with the implementation of a new reform programme that will make this possible,” he added.
Regrettably, he mentioned that what had brought so much discomfort to both the Ministry of Defence and the Ghana Armed Forces as the politicization of GAF matters and its subsequent leakage to the media.
Story by Nathaniel Yankson/Daily Guide
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