President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says he is upbeat about the progress being made by his administration, noting that “it is going well for us”.
He has, therefore, urged Ghanaians not to sit on the fence but work together and unite to consolidate the progress made, adding: “Get involved in what is happening in Ghana for the benefit of all.”
The President observed that the prevailing mood in Ghana was one of optimism in view of the effective roll-out of well-thought out policies and programmes by the government that had started yielding fruits.
In spite of the signs that were emerging, he said, he would not get carried away but work harder to sustain and even improve on the momentum of successes being chalked up.
Addressing a section of the Ghanaian community in Lusaka yesterday as part of his three-day state visit to Zambia, President Akufo-Addo said: “It’s an optimistic time. The feeling in Ghana is one of optimism that we are on the way back and we are going to continue to do whatever is necessary to sustain that feeling and that momentum in Ghana. We have tremendous prospects ahead of us in Ghana.”
“We are finding more gas, we are finding more petroleum. Next year, we will see a considerable expansion of our hydrocarbon resources,” the President said.
He announced that on July 6, this year, he would inaugurate the Sankofa Field, one of the oil fields which are into production, three years ahead of schedule.
The prospects, the President said, were opening up for the country and a lot of people were taking interest in Ghana again in significant ways.
“The Koreans, the Chinese, the Germans — everywhere we go people are saying they want to get involved in Ghana because they believe that our programme is in place and that it will allow a realistic attack on poverty in our country,” he explained.
“It is instructive to note that part of the confidence and interest being shown in Ghana is as a result of the fact that the world is coming to the realisation that not all people are corrupt and that there are people who are genuinely working hard in the interest of the Ghanaian people,” he added.
On the issue of corruption, the President cited the case of the 19 Customs officers in Tema who connived with some shipping agencies to allegedly steal GH¢1.2 billion belonging to the state, saying that happened only in the small area of Tema and that by extrapolation, similar incidents could be happening in other parts of the country.
He posited that if those loopholes were plugged, the country would have sufficient funds to finance its own development.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated the government’s commitment to the fight against corruption, saying: “We cannot continue to bleed because a few people, placed in positions of confidence and trust, manage to divert public funds into their own pockets. It has to stop for the future of our country.”
As part of a series of measures to combat corruption, he said, the government was strengthening its capacity to undertake the prosecution of corrupt officials, while it was engaged in the process of reforming import processes at the ports to be paperless in order to plug the loopholes.
Office of Special Prosecutor
The President said there was consensus in Ghana that the setting up of the Office of the Special Prosecutor ought to be done devoid of partisan politics.
He said the process of setting up that office would be independent of the Executive to take over the remit of investigating and prosecuting corruption-related crimes.
“I am hopeful that the second sitting of Parliament this year will see the legislation coming into being and in six months the office itself will be set up,” he added.
When the Office of the Special Prosecutor was set up and “people are prosecuted, it is not witch-hunting, it is not Akufo- Addo who is against his opponents and, therefore, it will be the law taking its own course. The law in Ghana should take its own course against all of us, irrespective of our status, our politics, our religion, our ethnic background. We are all equal before the law and we must make that happen,” the President stressed.
Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo yesterday laid wreaths on the tombs of three former presidents of Zambia at the Embassy Park Presidential Burial Site in Lusaka.
The mausoleum is where the late Zambian presidents, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa (1948–2008), Frederick Chiluba (1943–2011) and Michael Sata (1937–2014) are buried.
Both former Presidents Mwanawasa and Sata died while in office.
The ceremony by the President formed part of activities for his three-day visit to Zambia.