Mills expresses confidence in ministers

President John Atta Mills has expressed confidence in his ministers, saying they backed their words with actions. “Judge for yourselves the quality of ministers that we have; they don’t only speak, but act and perform as well,” President Mills said as he addressed a Town Hall meeting of a cross-section of Ghanaians in Washington DC. The expression of trust comes in the face of calls at home for a ministerial reshuffle, citing lack of performance by some ministers. Accompanied by some ministers at the meeting President Mills expressed appreciation to Ghanaians for the trust reposed in his administration. He stressed the need for national unity to achieve national goals. “We are one people with a common destiny. I’m NDC true and true but with the election over, I’m more than NDC; I’m a father to the nation, which means I belong to every party,” President Mills said. He called for discernment to be exercised on information received from home, adding that his was a solid team and together with Ghanaians the nation could overcome inherited challenges with humility, honesty and sense of duty. President Mills, who attended the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week, has also met investors and urged them to make Ghana a preferred investment destination. He said government was prepared to share ideas, engage in activities and find practical ways that would inure to the benefit of Ghanaians. The President reiterated his “Better Ghana” agenda, and stressed that the Government would in no way pursue any self-interest agenda. President Mills said the mandate of political leadership was to improve the living standards of the people and give them hope for a better life. He said government had laid a solid foundation, on which it would build to realize set goals and objectives. He said the government would work assiduously in the interest of the nation, declaring “we’ll get there well before the end of the four years and the people of Ghana will ask us to go for another four years”. President Mills called for the support of Ghanaians in the Diaspora to carry out the government’s goals. All Ghanaians should also throw their weight behind Government for the realization of national objectives, the President said, and assured Ghanaians that the proceeds that would accrue from the nation’s oil find would be used to the benefit of the people so that posterity would judge the government very kindly. Dr Kwabena Duffuor, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said the government looked forward to partner Ghanaians in foreign lands and urged them to come home to invest. He said the government inherited a very disturbing economy, but the situation was now stable. The Minister described President Mills as a leader with integrity, and called for the use of acquired skills to push the economy forward. “The economy is now doing well. It could do better if we apply more of our skills,” Dr Duffuor said, and asked investors to contact the Venture Capital Fund for investment financing. Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture, said President Mills had challenged him to ensure food sufficiency for Ghanaians and expressed concern about the importation of a number of food products such as turkey tails, rice, and tomato despite about 60 per cent of the nation’s labour force being in agriculture. Mr Ahwoi, who expressed the need to modernize agriculture, said only 7.3 million out of the 18 million hectares of the nation’s land good for agriculture was under cultivation. He said the government was interested in large-scale agriculture and was working to secure land for that purpose. It would also diversify crops that were grown on lands that were used by former state farms, mentioning Ejura and Komenda farms as examples. Mr Ahwoi said the government would also work on irrigation schemes for all year round farming without necessarily eliminating small-scale farmers. Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the President had pledged to run a people-centred administration, to invest in the people and provide jobs. He spoke on the proposed Ghanaian biometric passport which would be effective next April, and asked them to protect the Ghanaian passport since non-Ghanaian nationals might want to possess it for mischievous reasons. Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei, Minister for Energy, Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister for Trade and Industry also stressed unity and investment attraction to Ghana. “You are a bridge to attract investment. We want to enlist your support to bring investment to Ghana,” Ms Tetteh said. Ms Tetteh said the issue of dual nationality was being considered in the proposed constitutional review but anyone with dual nationality had to choose between national office and being national of another country.