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Defence Minister happy about youth’s interest in the army

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Defense Minister, Lieutenant General Joseph Henry Smith (Rtd) has observed that, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) was a popular career choice among young Ghanaians and that, it was a healthy development.

He said the keen contest for recruitment into the GAF enabled management the opportunity to stick to the stringent criteria of recruiting only the best.

Lt Gen. Smith, who was answering question in parliament on Wednesday, added that, the GAF had little difficulty maintaining a regional and gender balance, because the applicants outstripped the number required.

He noted that the GAF recruitment policy generally required that 90 percent should be male and 10 percent female, in all the three services.

A second requirement, according to him, was that “each region should exhibit the appropriate gender mix as well, through all three services –Army, Navy and Air Force.”

“Out of an upper limit of 300, the Navy recruited 180 males and 35 females and the Air Force 104 male and 25 female, out of a quota of 300,” and that, in both cases, the regional spread was impeccable. He said the recruits were expected to be taken in two batches of 450 each.

He said at the moment 391 males and 60 females were undergoing training and that the second batch of 534 was currently undergoing medical examination out of which 450 would be short listed for training in January 2011.

“It is hoped that all short falls in the regional quotas in the first batch will be addressed,” he said.

Gen. Smith said the extra one person in the first batch might be regarded as a trivial detail and explained that as a human institution such a small measure of flexibilities were possible provided it did not derail the primary aim of the regional and gender balances.

He explained further that the percentage chosen for each region was based on the population census figures of Ghanaians between the ages of 15 to 29.

Meanwhile, the Minority has accused the government of favouring some regions as against others, by recruiting more persons from such regions.

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Minority Leader, who led argument, produced a letter, which he tabled for the rest of the house to prove his case.

Mr Cletus Avoka Majority Leader said there was no harm caused, because the constitution explicitly endorsed regional balance in the recruitment of persons into the
GAF.

Parliament also read the Students Loan Trust Bill 2010 for the third time and was passed.

Source: GNA

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