After 57 years of gaining political independence from the British colonial rule, President John Mahama has declared that it is time the nation moved to the “next level”.

Recognising the efforts of his predecessors, the President in a speech to commemorate this year’s Independence Anniversary at the Black Star Square on Thursday called for concerted efforts to move Ghana forward.

“The time has come for us to move Ghana to the next level, and we must work together to be able to achieve this.”

On patronizing made in Ghana goods, the President urged the public to reduce the appetite for imported items in favour of home-grown products. According to him, Ghanaians are most enterprising, smart, creative, crafty and hardworking who can deliver when put to test.

He therefore challenged all to use their God-given gifts to transform the country by producing proudly Ghanaian items.

He therefore advocated that Ghanaians go a step further to make everyday a "Ghana Day".

 “We should all continue with the practice of putting on national wear introduced by President Kufuor’s Government. But I’m asking us to go one step further. With every piece of clothing we wear, with every item of food we prepare for our meals, with every single thing we use, let us ask ourselves, how much of this is made in Ghana and even importantly, if it was not made in Ghana, let’s ask ourselves, could it have been made in Ghana?’
“But if you ask yourself, could it have been made in Ghana and the answer is ‘yes’, then for the love of this country, our country, start thinking of ways in which we can transform our society and our economy by making it happen.”

Stating the significance of Ghana’s independence to Africa and the rest of the world, the President reminded Ghanaians that freedom being enjoyed must go hand in hand with equality.

He described inequality as one of the world’s biggest risk.  This “flashpoint of social and national tension”, he said, must be addressed by bridging the gap between the rich and the poor.

There is therefore the need for every Ghana to live in dignity, have access to basic tools such as shelter, school, health care, build decent life for kids, he said.

This dream would be relentless pursued, President Mahama stated.

The President further stated: “If we are truly independent, we cannot allow our destiny to be determined by corporations, industries or individuals or exist beyond our national borders and that is precisely what we are doing when the majority of what we consume come from outside.

“It is precisely what we are doing when all that we export are raw materials extracted from the earth. The days when our very wealth was based on natural and mineral resources must be a thing of the past. Yes, it’s true God has blessed Ghana richly with gold, bauxite, timber and now oil but as I’ve said many times before and will continue to maintain, Ghana’s greatest resource is its people”.

The anniversary was graced by various dignitaries including the President of Guinea Prof. Alpha Condé, former President John Kufuor, diplomatic corps, traditional and religious leaders.

This year’s Independence Day celebration is on the theme, “Building a Better and Prosperous Ghana through Patriotism and National Unity”.

The beauty of the anniversary was marred by torrential rains forcing parade commanders to cut off most of the activities to mark the day.