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Regional News of Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Source: GNA

Military goes into industrial development

The Ministry of Defence in consultation with the Military High Command had launched a programme dubbed “Civil-Military Collaboration for Socio-Economic Development (CIMICSED) to actively embark on industrial development projects to enhance national socio-economic development.

To that end, a limited liability company known as the Defence Industries Holding Company (DIHOC) had been formed to undertake industrial development.

Lieutenant General J. H. Smith (rtd), Minister of Defence, who took his turn at the Meet-The-Press series in Accra on Tuesday, told Journalists that for a start, three industries - Garment, Footwear and Housing - that would greatly impact on the country’s socio-economic development and growth had been identified for consideration.

He said that new initiative was not meant to take away the military from its core duty of providing national security but for the military to serve just as facilitators in industrial development.

Lt. Gen. Smith said DIHOC was expected to provide opportunities for the employment of the large number of unemployed youth and serve as a programme in which the experience and expertise of retired service personnel would be tapped.

On Civil-Military Relations, he said the Ministry continued to initiate programmes designed to educate all ranks on human rights issues and the need to act within the confines of the law, leading to a significant reduction in cases bordering on military-civilian confrontation.

“In order to deepen the existing civil-military relations, the Ghana Armed Forces in November 2010, launched a community Relations Week to be held annually in all Garrisons to promote community-related activities.

“The theme for 2011 was ‘The Ghana Armed Forces – Facilitators of Peace and Order for national Development’ and activities undertaken in the local communities within the period included Civic Action, Media outreach, and donation to charity, Agriculture fair, Beating the Retreat, Dance Band Concert and Fun Games, “ he said.

Lt. Gen. Smith said the GAF had also been involved in a number of civil assisted activities and that to a large extent had led to the improvement in the civil-military relations.

These services included Aero-medical evacuation from various parts of the country for treatment, assistance to paragliding activities during the Easter festivities in the Kwahu area, and participating in national programmes such as Policy Fair and open day activities held as part of Independence Day Celebrations.

On infrastructural development, he said, as efforts to improve the logistical and infrastructural base of the military, arrangements were being made for funding to address the problems of accommodation for offices, barracks and training facilities.

He stressed the need to continuously equip the Armed Forces and repair damaged facilities to prevent massive equipment shortfalls.

That, he said, would also enable the Military to focus on its strategic goals to ensure the defence of mother Ghana at all times.

On the forthcoming general elections, the Minister assured the country of their preparedness to maintain peace before, during and after the December elections.

“We will do all within our constitutional mandate and capacity to collaborate effectively with all stakeholders to ensure peaceful elections in December,” he added.

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