The President, John Dramani Mahama, has chided some security agencies for procuring security boots from other countries, while abandoning those produced by the Kumasi Shoe Factory.
“Although the Kumasi Shoe Factory is producing high quality boots for the security services, most of them are still importing from other countries, thereby disobeying my instructions,” he said.
President Mahama, who is often seen in local waxprints, including “tie and die” as well as batik, said as a result of the disobedience from the security agencies, he had directed the Chief of Staff to meet the security commanders to reinforce the directive.
It is unclear, whether the huge kickbacks which often comes from the importers and suppliers of such products, especially from China and Pakistan into private pockets of the security chiefs, is accounting for the snub of the president’s strict directives.
Amazingly, President Mahama, apart from his local prints, also wears locally manufactured shoes made by Tonyi Senayah of Horseman Shoes.
Speaking to members of the Council of State during their quarterly meeting, said the Kumasi Shoe Factory and the Komenda Sugar Factory, were projects he was reviving to reduce the importation of their products and it was, therefore, discouraging for people to continue to import similar goods that were produced cheaply domestically.
Recently, President Mahama, demonstrated his call on Ghanaians to patronize made in Ghana products by flaunting a pair of locally made shoes he was wearing to Members of Parliament (MP), while delivering his 2015 State of the Nation Address.
The president, bemoaned the lack of appreciation of made-in-Ghana goods and the over-reliance on foreign imports.
According to him, local investors in the country, should be assisted to produce locally-manufactured products on a large scale, in order to halt the practice of Ghanaian dependence on imports.
To buttress why the country needs to limit its dependence on foreign products, President Mahama, disclosed that the country expended 1.5 billion dollars in foreign currency on the importation of consumables such as rice, sugar, cooking oil, tomato and fish; monies “which could have gone into the pockets of Ghanaian entrepreneurs”.
“If this money had been retained and spent in Ghana it would have gone into the pockets of Ghanaian entrepreneurs which would subsequently remain here to boost the economy,” he said and almost removed his footwear to indicate to the Parliamentarians he was leading by example by wearing Horseman Shoes.
He revealed that a campaign for Made-In-Ghana goods, would be launched to help promote Ghanaian products and mentioned that he has requested the board and management of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to encourage the local manufacture of electrical products, such as cable, transformers and meters by purchasing from local producers who meet their quality standard.
“Mr Speaker, we will this year launch a broad campaign to encourage Ghanaians to buy made in Ghana goods. Any import items we buy as Ghanaians constitute an export of jobs in this country especially in respect of the items for which we have comparative advantage to produce,” President Mahama noted, last year.
President Mahama, commended the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) for deporting the three South African ex-servicemen, who were in the country to train the security personnel of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
According to him, any political leader or party, that feels the need for security protection, must consult the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
“As political leaders, if we have any special needs in respect of our security, the right authority to discuss it is the Inspector General of Police,” President Mahama said on Monday.
The three — Major Ahmed Shaik Hazis (retd), 54; Warrant Officer Denver Dwayhe, 33, and Captain Mlungiseli Jokani, 45 — were arrested at the EL-Capitano Hotel where they based when they arrived in Ghana.
Prior to their deportation, they had been facing charges over claims that their activities, were in breach of Ghanaian laws.
President Mahama, stated that deporting the three South Africans, was the right thing to do.
“The Chief Immigration officer declared that they had violated the terms of their visa and so he removed them from the jurisdiction as he should do appropriately.”
Meanwhile, following reports of imminent terror attacks on the country, the government, has set up a Counter-Terrorism Unit to ward off any attack that might destabilize the peace of the country.
The unit, which will be headed by the National Security Adviser to the President, Baba Kamara, has also been tasked to coordinate all security measures put in place to avert any attack on the country.
“The National Security has set up a counter-terrorism unit which is chaired by the National Security Adviser. In the course of time, you will find that various people are positioned in different parts of the capital and other cities. We are not looking at only Accra, we are looking at other places just to make sure that response time is very quick in the event that something like this happens,” he said.
President Mahama, further added that Ghana was sharing intelligence with neighboring countries, in a bid to block such attacks on the country.
“One of the most important things is intelligence sharing, we are getting Intel from our neighbors from Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso among others. We are all alert and watching if there are suspicious people.”
On the 2016 general election, President Mahama, gave the assurance that government would continue to play its role responsibly to ensure that the polls were conducted in a peaceful environment.
He said, government would adequately resource the security agencies with equipment and logistics to ensure that the election was peacefully and effectively conducted.
He appealed to the Electoral Commission (EC) and leaders of various political parties to educate their followers against any act of violence that could undermine peace and unity before, during and after the general election.
“I will do my best as the President of Ghana to calm the political temperature and hope the Council of State, National Peace Council and various religious groups, will help in reducing the political temperature.”
He gave the assurance that his administration, would maintain financial discipline even though there was general election this year.
He said, the Government deliberately went in for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme to stabilise the economy and that a review conducted by the close of the year indicated that the economy was on track.
Madam Cecilia Johnson, the Chairperson of the Council of State, called on the security agencies to be extra vigilant, especially along the borders, to report suspicious characters to the authorities for action.
She commended President Mahama for the numerous infrastructural development projects dotted round the country, and encouraged him to ensure that every Ghanaian, enjoyed his or her share of the national cake.
Madam Johnson, said they are ready to engage stakeholders where necessary to promote a congenial atmosphere for decent political activities, and a positive outcome of the elections acceptable to all Ghanaians.