President Mahama
President Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama in a press briefing with a cross section of the Ghanaian Media in the United Kingdom, on Monday 29th April 2013, thanked Ghanaians for their relentless efforts in projecting a positive image of the Black Star of Africa (Ghana). Many dignitaries were in attendance, notable amongst them was the Ghana’s High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency Prof, Kwaku Danso-Boafo.

In his address, the president expressed his resolve to do all it takes to end the current energy crisis bedevilling the country. He noted that, with the completion of the Ghana Gas processing plant at Atuabo, which is earmarked for completion by the end of the fourth quarter of this year, Ghana will be meeting its local energy demands. This will lead to the creation of significant amount of jobs within the value stream of the oil and gas sector, as well as other sectors of the economy, he remarked.

The president, however, asserted that, in spite of Ghana’s energy challenges, the country remains a chief exporter of energy to its neighbours, and will therefore make sure that, the competitive advantage Ghana has over its neighbours within the sub – region, as far as energy is concerned, is consolidated.

On the creation of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, president Mahama explained that, due to the lack of capacity of Ghana’s Navy in the past, the country has not been able to take full advantage of the potential of the fisheries industry, as a major foreign exchange earner. He assured the audience that, his government was committed to revamping the fisheries sector, to harness its full potential as an invaluable sector of the Ghanaian economy.

He noted that, the limited capacities of Ghana?s ports are impacting negatively on businesses; hence, the need to expand the capacities of our ports, to meet the increasing demands of the business community. The president bemoaned the difficulties that business and individuals have to go through to clear their goods at the ports, and promised to reduce corruption and the time it takes to clear goods at the port. He is confident that, Ghana is in a unique position to become the main hub for West Africa as far as the marine freight industry is concerned.

In line with his manifesto on public service improvement, the president said, his government is committed to restructuring state institutions for efficient and effective delivery of public services.

The president explained that, although the introduction of the single spine salary scheme was a good one, it is fraught with unforeseen challenges. This has lead to a series of strikes from labour groups, notable amongst them, is the ongoing doctors strike. He said, doctors concerns were being addressed, since their work is very essential to the wellbeing of the nation. “Lives are at stake, can doctors bring back a life that has already been lost?” – he quizzed. The president therefore, encouraged the Ghana Medical Association to have faith in the government to make good his promise.

Explaining the challenges surrounding the water crisis in Ghana, president Mahama stated that, the problem was largely underproduction and illegal connections, coupled with the rise in rural urban migration. He hinted that government was working hard to complete a new water treatment plant currently under construction at Kpone, a suburb of Accra, to augment supply of water in the greater Accra region. On Water shortages in the western region; he blamed it on illegal mining activities which are destroying the water bodies in the region. He said that, his government will soon be announcing its decision on illegal mining activities, and also expressed his desire to restructure Ghana Urban Water Company to be more efficient.

He expressed his commitment to ending the confusions involving the constitutional provision on article 71 office holders, enjoying a special salary scheme and entitlements over other public sector workers. He said parliament will look at amending that section of the constitution to pave way for a new agency to be set up, which will be charged with the responsibility of determining the salary of all public sector workers.

On his part, the high commissioner of Ghana to the UK, His Excellency Prof. Kwaku Danso-Boafo reiterated that, the government remained resolute to listen to the people of Ghana. The high commissioner also thanked the Ghanaian media in the UK for their hard work, and admonished all to continue to project Ghana as the gateway to Africa.

Source: Ken Osagyefo, GFM Radio: London

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