President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged Ghanaians, especially those in the Diaspora, to be extra vigilant and ensure that non-Ghanaians do not register and pick the Ghana Card when the National Identification Authority (NIA) starts issuing the cards to Ghanaians in the Diaspora next year.
He said although some non-Ghanaians might be in possession of Ghanaian passports through fraudulent means, it was the collective responsibility of all to ensure that such people did not get hold of the Ghana Card.
He explained that once non-Ghanaians got hold of the Ghana Card, it would be conclusive that they were Ghanaians, unless a whole lot of pieces of evidence, including fraud and others, were adduced to deal with it.
President Akufo-Addo, who was interacting with a cross-section of Ghanaians living in Vienna, Austria, last Monday, said once such people got the Ghana Card, they would be part of the system, “going forward, forever and ever”.
“We should value our citizenship. It is a great pride for me that I am a Ghanaian, and that is why, after years of working and living abroad, I never went for French or British citizenship, although I was entitled to it, because I am very proud of being a Ghanaian,” he added.
He indicated that the plan was that the domestic issuance would be completed by the end of the year and then the (NIA) would turn its attention to Ghanaians in the Diaspora.
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President Akufo-Addo took his compatriots through some of the major developments that had taken place in Ghana, including the free SHS and the Sino-Hydro $2-billion barter with the Chinese government.
He explained that the Sino-Hydro deal would allow Ghana to add value to its bauxite, thereby creating jobs in the country, before exporting the finished product to defray the $2 billion.
He added that the authority for the project had been established and that it had advanced in its work.
He said the construction of roads under the deal would be such that every region would benefit, adding that the deficit in road infrastructure in Ghana could not be addressed within a few years.
The President also briefed them on the introduction of drones to deliver emergency drugs and other medical supplies to deprived and distant health facilities, as well as other investments in the health sector.
He said his administration believed that Ghanaian children, irrespective of which area of the country they came from, would compete with children in the developed countries in the near future and to ensure that Ghanaian children became competitive, the government was keen on providing them with quality but free education.
He explained that aside from the free SHS education policy that the people of Ghana were enjoying, the government had commenced moves to put technical and vocational education, as well as science and technology, at the forefront of education.
He indicated that the processes had commenced to review the curriculum of primary schools to ensure that the children would be in the best position to realise their potential and become competitive in the global world, while at the same time the welfare and training of teachers also received the needed boost.
President Akufo-Addo said the policies and programmes his administration initiated and put into practice had started bearing fruits and mentioned Planting for Food and Jobs, which had led to increased productivity in the agricultural sector.
Reacting to calls by Ghanaians in Austria for the Ghana Government to establish an embassy in that country, the Foreign Minister, Mrs Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, said the government had appointed an honorary consul who would commence work very soon, adding that the Ghana Embassy in Geneva, which had oversight, was working closely with all stakeholders.
She gave an assurance that the government was looking at scaling up activities from an honorary consul to a consulate for the time being, and that very soon some Foreign Affairs officers would be posted to the consulate to deal with issues.
The Foreign Minister said although there could be truth in the claims that some non-Ghanaians were in possession of Ghanaian passports, those making the claims should also know that there were people who were genuine Ghanaians because their parents and grandparents were Ghanaians and such could not be denied passports.
She said if care was not taken, even such people would be considered as non-Ghanaians and encouraged the Ghanaians to report people they believed were non-Ghanaians but had Ghanaian passports.
She assured them that the government would deal with such matters swiftly.
Mrs Botchway announced that the government had instituted very stringent measures to ensure that the acquisition of Ghanaian passports remained very strict.