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Ghana’s Minister for Defence, Lieutenant-General Joseph Henry Smith, has announced that the government has acquired a site in the Western Region to establish a Military Forward Operation Base (FOB) that would deal swiftly with any external aggression.
He said this had become necessary following oil and gas exploration and influx of people from all walks of life in order to protect oil installations, mount surveillance and undertake aggressive patrols in the Region.
Lt.Gen. Smith made the disclosure during a working visit to the 2 Garrison Command in Takoradi at the weekend to acquaint himself with their challenges and state of preparedness towards the upcoming elections.
He said the FOB would include airstrip and helipath that would ensure quick responses to emergencies, adding that as the country was chalking successes in its social, political and democratic dispensation there was the need to strengthen its combat readiness so that the country would not be taken unawares.
The Minister indicated that over the past four years the government had equipped the military to execute its mandate effectively and efficiently including the provision of six vessels to the Navy and other accoutrements.
He said the government would continue to provide all the necessary logistics for the proper execution of its mandate.
Touching on their welfare, Lt. Gen. Smith said the government had acquired eight plots of land with $50 million Chinese loan facility to construct residential accommodation for them and assured the Military of government’s continuous support.
He assured the military that the Defence Industrial Holding Company (DIHOC) programme in Kumasi would provide the necessary expertise and skills to the Military personnel to manufacture leather wear, sew their own uniforms and rear livestock, which would be a source of employment for both the retired service men and civilians.
This, he said, would enable the GAF to produce most of their equipment internally to generate employment opportunities in the country.
He disclosed that the GAF had asked their suppliers to establish firms in the country to train the military personnel so that in the next five years the Ghanaian military could produce their own accoutrements locally.
The Defence Minster also toured some ongoing projects in the Region during the visit.