The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the Operation Vanguard Taskforce, who are combating the illegal mining phenomenon, otherwise known as 'Galamsey'.
Addressing the Taskforce at Akyem Afosu, in the Abirem Constituency, on Thursday, 21st December, 2017, the 2nd day of his 3-day tour of the Eastern Region, President Akufo-Addo acknowledged the difficult work being undertaken by the Taskforce, especially as they do not have all the equipment and support needed to tackle the menace.
Nonetheless, the President stated that "you are doing it, and it is beginning to have an impact on the country. This operation is one of the important operations you will have in your life, because it is about the future of this country."
President Akufo-Addo noted that if the Taskforce has not been composed to deal with this menace, and had allowed 'Galamsey' to spread, "you will not have a Ghana to give your children. By the time they are ready to come, our country's waters, lands, everything will be devastated."
The President indicated further that upon taking office on 7th January, 2017, and after being briefed on the issue of 'Galamsey', he had to do something about it.
"When you take the Oath, you are taking the oath to uphold the Constitution; you are taking the oath to protect the people; and to protect the country. It was necessary to do it, and I had to have the courage to be able to say that 'I am going to do it'. So, I found you, people who are willing and capable to help me in this exercise," the President said.
He continued, "I came here to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. And in thanking you, I also want to say something. All kinds of people are going to say all kinds of things about the work you are doing. Please, do not let any of that demoralize you. Don't let any of that get to you. You are doing work which is important for the future of our country. Just remember that work you are doing is about Ghana. It is not about yourselves, neither is it about me. It is about our country and its future."
President Akufo-Addo told the soldiers and police officers who make up the Taksforce to be mindful of the fact that "the whole country is looking up to you, not just the country but the continent of Africa.
"This is because what you are doing has never been done anywhere else on this continent. As always, in Ghana, we are the first in these things. When we are the first, we are also the best. We have the men who are showing that, yes, we can produce the people for every occasion."
Despite inheriting a difficult economic situation from his predecessors, the President stated that "I don't believe in crying over spilt milk, and I don't believe also in complaining. If you are a man, you get on with it, and you find a way to get things done, and that is what we are trying to do."
Planting for Food and Jobs will reduce food imports
Prior to his visit to Akyem Afosu, President Akufo-Addo paid a courtesy call on the new Kwahumanhene, Daasebre Akuamoah Agyepong II, to congratulate him on his selection as Omanhene.
Addressing the food security concerns raised by Daasebre Akuamoah Agyepong II, President Akufo-Addo indicated that the Programme for Planting for Food and Jobs is being implemented to, amongst others, reduce the importation of food into the country.
"We started with two hundred thousand farmers on the programme this year, and we want to increase it to five hundred thousand farmers. Planting for Food and Jobs is the ideal program which would empower us to reduce food importation, and, it is for this reason, I am pleading with the elders of this community to support it, and also empower the youth to venture into farming."
The President noted further that "Government has taken it upon itself to help farmers with the provision of subsidized fertilizer, and extension officers. With the introduction of these interventions, we have been able to harvest more food this year than in the recent past."
Touching on the Fulani herdsmen menace, President Akufo-Addo assured Daasebre Akuamoah Agyepong II and the people of Kwahu that government is introducing policies, including the ranching of cattle, to deal with the issue.
"The full implementation of these measures will ensure that, four years from now, you would not complain about the phenomenon of Fulani herdsmen," the President added.