President John Dramani Mahama says in spite of the current economic challenges, the nation's prospects are bright. While admitting that the country's economy was facing some challenges, the President said those difficulties were only temporary and gave an assurance that the economy would witness massive growth next year.
Addressing Muslims at their prayer gathering to mark this year's Eid-ul-Adha at the Independence Square in Accra yesterday, President Mahama said, "These challenges are temporary. I assure you that from next year, you will see some development."
Muslims, young and old, dressed in their traditional attire, converged on the Independence Square for the prayer under the leadership of the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu.
The Eid-ul-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice), also known as the Greater Eid, is the second most important festival on the Muslim calendar.
It celebrates the occasion when Allah appeared to Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to God.
The devil tempted Ibrahim to disobey Allah and spare his son. When Ibrahim was about to kill his son, Allah stopped him and gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead.
President Mahama said the government was ready to roll out all the development projects that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) promised in its 2012 manifesto.
For instance, he said, he would cut the sod for the start of work on 50 of the 200 promised community Senior High Schools (SHSs) by the end of this year.
He said the SHSs would be built in deprived communities to increase enrolment in those areas.
The other projects include: the establishment of a public university in the Eastern Region, the construction of 10 teacher training colleges, as well as regional and district hospitals.
The President affirmed the government's commitment to fighting corruption in the country.
On the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) report, he said the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service had begun investigations into the issue.
For instance, he said, the CID had started interviewing those accused of underhand dealings in the management of the various modules run by GYEEDA.
The President warned that those found to be culpable would be prosecuted.
Besides, he said, he had asked the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to prosecute officials cited for misappropriating public funds in the Auditor-General's Report.
He announced that the government would establish complaint centres next year for people to report underhand dealings in their various offices.
He said those who would make the complaints would be protected.
The President lauded Muslim and Christian leaders for co-existing peacefully in the country and asked them to continue to maintain that cooperation.
He, however, asked Ghanaians not to take the prevailing peace in the country for granted, in view of the recent terrorism attack in Kenya that led to the killing of many people, including Professor Kofi Awoonor, a former Chairman of the Council of State.
He asked Ghanaians to be vigilant and observant by reporting suspicious characters and movements to the security agencies timeously.
President Mahama said peace and love were the basis of every religion, saying there were verses in the Old Testament and the Qur'an which supported those virtues.
Similarly, he said, some people, both Christians and Muslims, could quote verses in the Old Testament and the Qur'an in support of violence and indicated that "violence is not the foundation of any religion".
The President lauded religious leaders for advocating peace during the election petition and indicated that the peaceful outcome of the petition had enhanced Ghana's image.
He lauded the National Hajj Committee (NHC), under the leadership of Alhaji Abdul Rauf Tanko, for the successful organisation of this year's Hajj.
National Chief Imam
The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Sharubutu, in a speech read on his behalf by his Spokesperson, Alhaji Gado Mohammed, expressed worry at the increasing perception of corruption in the nation.
He mentioned the misappropriation of funds captured in the Auditor-General's Report as an example and asked the government to intensify the fight against the canker.
Shiekh Nuhu Sharubutu said the people engaged in corruption were being driven by their selfish personal interests rather than the interest of the nation.
He commended the President for the support he offered to the NHC which had ensured the smooth organisation of the Hajj.
On the Eid-ul-Adha, the National Chief Imam said the occasion, which remembered Prophet Abraham's sacrifice, required of people to also sacrifice in support of the poor and vulnerable in society.