The Ministry of Defence has placed a ban on the importation of footwear for the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).
The move is to ensure patronage of footwear manufactured by the Footwear Division Limited of the Defence Industries Holding Company Limited (DIHOC), which is producing shoes for all uniformed security agencies in the country.
The Minister of Defence, Mr Mark Owen Woyongo, announced the decision when he took his turn at the meet-the-press series in Accra yesterday.
In a presentation that touched on equipping the GAF, human resource development, healthcare services, infrastructure, achievements and challenges of the defence ministry since 2012, the minister revealed that the company had a capacity to produce more than 100,000 military boots annually and was already receiving orders from other security services and schools.
Mr Woyongo said the DIHOC was important for the military in its effort to ensure that the military did not depend on the government for everything; adding, “we want to expand the factory to produce not only for Ghana but also to export to other countries in Africa.”
Other projects being undertaken by the DIHOC include vegetable production to feed the GAF and senior high schools. There are also plans for the factory to partner local entrepreneurs to produce fabrics for the security services and schools.
Touching on health, the minister said President Mahama would cut the sod next Wednesday for the construction of a military hospital in Kumasi to serve the northern sector.
Mr Woyongo said the 37 Military Hospital would be expanded into a 500-bed hospital.
The Ghana Navy in 2012 took delivery of four new patrol ships and two refurbished ex-German boats as part of efforts to boost the naval fleet for fishery controls and the protection of the country’s maritime boundaries.
That, the minister said, had contributed significantly to a number of successes, including the arrests of various foreign ships conducting illegal activities in the country’s territorial waters.
In August last year, a ship, MT Mustard, was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the hijacking of oil products from a tanker off the coast of Gabon. In November, another ship, MV Ayita, was arrested for illegally trafficking narcotic drugs worth GH¢125 million, the minister said.
Answering questions from journalists, Mr Woyongo said the GAF had taken considerable steps to bridge the gap between military-civilian relations.
While admitting that there were a few bad nuts in the military, the defence minister maintained that military officers who took the law into their own hands were dealt with ruthlessly.
“The days when we see soldiers and start running are gone. They were bullies those days. Today, they are professionals,” Mr Woyongo stated.