General News of 2013-12-16

Ghana army owe in feeding fees; morale low

A Member of Parliament’s Select Committee on Defence and Interior, Seth Kwame Acheampong says the morale of personnel of the Ghana Armed forces is dangerously low.

The situation, according to him, is the result of the non-payment of feeding grants and inadequate training equipment for the military.

Mr. Acheampong said even recruitment into the armed forces has stalled because of government’s inability to give retirees their severance packages.

He was contributing to a motion to approve budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Defence on the floor of the House.

“It is not the best for this country that our officers and men, food to feed, is in arrears,” he noted.

The New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for Mpraeso said the development forebode serious security implications for the country.

He said out of the 99 million cedis allocation for health services for the military, the government of Ghana was paying only one million with donors providing for 90 million cedis. The internally generated funds of the military will account for the remaining seven million cedis.

“The general allocation to the health of our people is being centred on donor [funding]. You have 90 million [cedis] coming from donors; if donors bring the money…how do we keep our men and officers in good health”?

Mr. Acheampong said even though training is critical for military officers, “armour for training, they don’t have.”

“If the military is owing in clothing then we are in serious [trouble]; the government must rise up to [its duties],” he said.

Defence Minister Mark Woyongo admitted there were financial challenges facing the Military in an exclusive interview with JoyNews's Elton John Brobbey. According to him the 687 million Ghana cedis allocated to the sector is woefully inadequate.

He, however, assured there was no cause for alarm.

But it appears the issue of inadequate funding is not only limited to the Defence Ministry because the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong raised similar concerns when she appeared in Parliament today.

Government in the 2014 budget allocated almost 65 million Ghana cedis to the AG’s department – an amount considered to be inadequate.

But the A-G told Parliament the inadequate funding will affect justice delivery in the country.

She warned of non representation in international arbitration if the trend continues.