President Akufo-Addo greeting soldiers at the function
In fulfillment of one of the several promises he made during the 2016 electioneering campaign, President Akufo-Addo has increased the peacekeeping allowance from $31 to $35.
He announced the decision when he joined officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) at their annual West African Soldiers Social Activities (WASSA) at the General Army Headquarters in Burma Camp yesterday.
Until the announcement, soldiers on peacekeeping operations were being paid daily allowance of $31.
Speaking at the event, he underscored that “in furtherance of our commitment to improving your welfare, my administration in fulfillment of a manifesto pledge, has increased the peacekeeping allowance effective January 2017 from $31.00 to $35.00,” to a spontaneous applause from the rank and file of the soldiers amid chants of ‘Ahoya’ [a military term].
Extension Of Service
President Akufo-Addo also talked about an ongoing legislative review of the Armed Forces Amendment Regulations of 1986 (LI 1332) purposed “to extend the serving duration of other ranks [junior officers] from the current 25 years to 30 years,” to another round of applause.
“I want all Ghanaians to see me as a man of my word.”
Government has also resolved to renovate all military barracks across the country while putting up new housing units to meet the growing demands for accommodation.
President Nana Akufo-Addo read a quote by the British Field Marshal of the Second World War, Bernard Law Montgomery, “The soldier who is well-provided for, who is not disturbed by petty and unnecessary inconvenience, who knows that everything possible is being done for him, who is well-clothed and well-fed is a contended soldier,” to summarize his vision for the Ghana Armed Forces.
He pledged that achieving such a state for the officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces “is going to be the focus of my government.”
In his first few weeks in office, he directed that $13 million be released to clear the arrears owed Ghanaian peacekeepers.
He has since issued a fiat for all military personnel who embark on peacekeeping operations to be paid at their stations of operation and not when they return home as was the practice.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Major General Obed Akwa, on his part, thanked the president for honouring their invitation and pledged their commitment to defending the government and people of Ghana at all times.
He also appealed to the government to help retool the Armed Forces, which the president has since pledged to do.
In terms of military preparedness, President Akufo-Addo indicated that his government would actively support contemporary training methods that would not only keep the officers, men and women of the Armed Forces abreast with international military trends, but also ensure that they remain the beacon of Armed Forces across the continent.
“We are committed to providing you with modern military equipment which would complement the training you would receive. Government is also committed to enriching the human resource base of the Armed Forces by supporting initiatives that will provide further education for soldiers and airmen to enhance their skills at protecting our territorial integrity,” he added.
With reference to the Navy, President Akufo-Addo noted that the advent of oil and gas has made their role more critical, as they now have the added responsibility to protect Ghana’s waters and oil fields from new dangers.
In the presence of the Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, the president gave the assurance that his government was going to allocate the needed resources to the Navy to protect the country’s sea lines of communication, especially in the wake of current activities in the Gulf of Guinea – disruptions and destruction of oil/gas operations and installations, bunkering, drug trafficking and smuggling, among others.
“The Air Force would not be left out of the programme of resource enhancement so that we have an Air Force worthy of the name.”
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent