The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has contracted a $50 million loan for rehabilitation works on rundown infrastructure of many of the country’s missions abroad, the President, Nana Akufo-Addo hads said.
The President Monday also stated that Ghana’s image and pride of place amongst the comity of nations has been greatly enhanced and restored over the past 23 months.
He attributed the development to the work done by Ghana’s High Commissioners and Ambassadors, and urged them to “continue in this regard over the period of your tenures in office.”
The President made the disclosure when he delivered the opening address at the Conference of Heads of Missions, held at the Jubilee House, in Accra.
President Akufo-Addo told the Conference, attended by all Ghana’s Ambassadors and High Commissioners, that over the last two and a half decades, Ghana had managed to build an enviable reputation as a peaceful, stable country, and a beacon of democracy on the continent.
“It is in our collective interest that we do everything we can, not only to preserve this hard-won reputation, but also to attract the investments that will facilitate the structural transformation of our economy, so central to the future prosperity and stability of our country,” he said.
With the Heads of Mission deliberating on a range of priority issues of Government and the Ghanaian people over the course of the Conference, President Akufo-Addo was expectant that the outcome of the Conference should serve to deepen further their understanding, roles and responsibilities, to achieve concrete and beneficial results for the nation.
“You are the chief promoters of Ghana’s diplomatic and commercial interests in your respective countries, and this Conference will reinforce that motivation.
“As Heads of Missions, you are now required to be more visible and proactive in your dealings, in order to make the desired impact,” he said.
“You must endeavour not only to interact with the Executive and Legislative arms of Government in your host countries, but also with academic institutions and influential civil society organisations, including the media.
“When this is done, you can be certain that you would have helped to promote Government’s agenda for economic transformation and the prospects that it offers all stakeholders,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo assured that Government was committed to resolving the challenges faced by the Ministry and the Missions, and as a first step, there has been a modest increase in this year’s budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“It is incumbent on you to exercise prudence in the use of the Mission’s resources, and find innovative ways of increasing the proportion of internally generated funds.
He continued, “Furthermore, the Ministry has also contracted a $50 million loan to help in the rehabilitation of the rundown infrastructure of many of our Missions. The Minister has assured me that the loan will be vigorously disbursed and employed in this new year of 2019.”
The President reminded the ambassadors and Heads of Mission to at all times respect the rights of their staff.
He noted that the various Foreign Service Officers at the Missions possessed invaluable experience and in-depth knowledge of the terrain, which should help them to discharge their duties effectively.
“It has, however, come to my attention that, in some of the Missions, the exact opposite of my appeal is being adhered to…There are several reports of petty squabbles, turf wars, outright confrontations, and a complete breakdown in relations between some Heads of Missions and their respective Foreign Service Officers.
“This situation is completely unacceptable, and is proving detrimental to the smooth running of High Commissions and Embassies, and occasioning unnecessary, additional costs,” the President said.
The President said he was utterly unhappy about those developments, and urged the Ambassadors and High Commissioners to exercise utmost restraint in their dealings with the Foreign Service Officers, even with those who may be problematic.
“Those, who misconduct themselves, can be duly sanctioned in accordance with the law, after being subjected to due process. I would advise the Minister of Foreign Affairs to investigate and act swiftly in dealing with complaints lodged by a Head of Mission about any officer who misconducts himself or herself, in contravention of the rules and regulations that are to guide their conduct,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo maintained that “as head of Mission you must help create a harmonious working environment. When that happens, you are guaranteed of staff who are sufficiently motivated to work hard in order to achieve the desired results and the stated goals of our nation.”