The Vice-President, Mr. Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, has urged companies operating in Ghana to religiously abide by the new Ghana Investment Promotion Act 865, 2013, which enables them to give first priority to Ghanaians, when it comes to employment.
According to him, with the promulgation of the Act, the government had reviewed immigrant quotas to provide more employment for Ghanaians. The new law, among other things, provides that investors in the retail sector employ at least 10 Ghanaians.
Mr. Amissah-Arthur made the appeal when he reviewed the seventh Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) graduation parade at Assin Fosu in the Central Region over the weekend.
He told the management and staff of the GIS that: "the Act has far-reaching implications for immigration enforcement, as thresholds for investments and immigrant quotas have been reviewed".
The Vice-President was quick to add that the Immigration Service will have to ensure that companies do not circumvent but comply with these requirements.
"Government is concerned with the employment of expatriates when Ghanaians can do provide these locally. The new Act confronts this issue and explicitly provides that citizens of Ghana be given the first option when employment is being considered", Mr. Amissah-Arthur stated.
He noted that there was no room for additional immigrant quotas, an area Mr. Amissah-Arthur lamented that had been greatly exploited.
Mr. Amissah-Arthur reminded the GIS: "In processing applications for work permits, you are to ensure that the provisions of the investment laws are not abused. You should also note that the new Act further provides that investors in the retail sector employ at least 10 Ghanaians".
One of the key objectives of the investment promotion law is the creation of employment for Ghanaians. The Ghana Immigration Service and all stakeholder agencies must ensure strict compliance with these essential provisions of the Act so as not to undermine its employment objective, he ordered.
Touching on the development of the GIS, Mr. Amissah-Arthur noted with satisfaction that the plans to transform the GIS Academy and Training School into a sub-regional training centre had begun and had already trained 150 recruits for the Liberian Bureau of Immigration and Naturalisation (BIN)
With the support of the European Union (EU) and Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), new structures and facilities had been completed and inaugurated at the academy, he added.
To the newly graduated young cadets, Mr. Amissah-Arthur advised them that their meritorious performance should not delude them into a false sense of complacency, saying:
"After today you become the officers of the Ghana Immigration Service and a lot will be expected of you. You will now have to prove your worth and justify the investment the country has made in training you.
"You will be required to show honesty, hard work, discipline and dedication to your country. You will acknowledge and respect your superior officers. You will support them in their command. You will carry out their lawful command.
"You will intend conduct yourselves responsibly. You will be required to be fair and firm with your subordinates and treat them with respect. In so doing you will earn their respect and confidence."
On his part, the Commandant of the Ghana Immigration Service Academy and Training School, Mr. Isaac Adi Luortey, also admonished the graduates to put the knowledge and skills they acquired during the six-month intensive training period to good use for the Immigration Service and the country at large.
In all, 96 cadets, including four Liberian immigration officers passed out after six months of intensive training, while Officer Cadet Joyce Mawuena Adjah emerged the Overall Best Cadet.