President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Wednesday urged traditional rulers to combine efforts with government to stop the smuggling of fertilizers to neighboring countries.
He said it was unfortunate that the Ghanaian taxpayer’s money, used to purchase fertilizer at a subsidized price, to improve the productivity of farmers, was being taken advantage of by greedy individuals who smuggle it across the country for personal gain.
The President said farmers had embraced the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme, and noted that “It began with 200,000 farmers, today we have almost 1,000,000 farmers within a period of two and half years, this shows the enthusiasm of our farmers for this programme.”
President Akufo-Addo was speaking at a durbar of Chiefs and people of Navrongo in the Kassena-Nankana Municipal of the Upper East Region as part of his two-day working visit to the Region.
“It is all of us our money that is inside the programme. It is not just the farmers, people sitting in their offices in Accra are contributing, those sitting in their offices in Navrongo are contributing, and then we have a hand full of greedy people, a hand full of greedy criminals who will use our money and smuggle our things to Burkina Faso.
“It is not right, and all of us should bind together to stop the smuggling of our fertilizers to Burkina Faso. We are using the Ghanaian taxpayer’s money to subsidize criminal activity which is going to the benefit of a hand full of people, we can’t continue down that road,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo called on the people to accord security services personnel in the area their maximum support to end the smuggling, and warned that “If there are members of the security agencies, who are condoning with the smugglers, expose them, let us know who they are, and they will be dealt with.”
He said government had significantly increased military presence in the Region to make sure terrorists infiltrators did not invade the country and cause problems, and assured officials of the Ghana Armed Forces in the Region that the country was solidly behind their work.
The President, prior to addressing the durbar, inspected ongoing works on a water processing plant and the Tono Rehabilitation Project in the Municipality.
In a speech read on his behalf, Pe Dennis Aneakwoa Belinia Adda, the Paramount Chief of the Navrongo Traditional Area, expressed gratitude to the President for the rehabilitation of the Tono Irrigation Dam and head works for water intake from the reservoir, its treatment and supply to Chiana, Chuchuliga, Paga, Bolgatanga.
The Navro Pio further thanked the President for the social intervention programmes and construction works in the area, especially “the near completion of the Navrongo Sports Stadium that will provide an opportunity for rest, recreation and improve health.”
On security, Pe Adda appealed to the government to improve the infrastructure at the Municipal Police Station, the Ghana Prisons and the Ghana Fire Services, adding that “The buildings there have not seen any rehabilitation or renovation in many years, and some of the structures are even dilapidated”.
The President was in the company of Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister of Education, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, the Minister of Health, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, Deputy Chief of Staff, Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, and Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Agriculture.
Others were Mr Kwasi Amoako Attah, the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Dominic Ntiwul, the Defence Minister, Madam Mavis Hawa Koomson, the Minister of Special Development Initiative, Mr Joseph Dinkiok Kpemka, the Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Alhaji Hanan Abdul-Wahab, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Food Buffer Stock Company, among other Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, Municipal and District Chief Executives in the Region.