SECURITY : Don’t ’overstretch’ security issues - Defence Ministry
|Lt Gen. John Henry Smith|| |
The Ministry of Defence has called for circumspection in discussions bordering Ghana’s national security, insisting that such debates should not be “overstretched” to compromise state security and the integrity of the country.
“We should be circumspect with discussions of security matters in public because we may not know our enemies specifically, but we must be aware that we have potential enemies”, said Defence Minister, Lieutenant General John Henry Smith, when he took his turn at the weekly meet-the-press series in Accra.
The Minister, who used the platform to register the displeasure of the Ministry of Defence over the furor generated by the media and the legislature on the acquisition of aircraft by government for the Ghana Air Force, held that equipment were requisites for the defence of the country’s strategic assets and should not be politicized for any gains.
“Our potential enemies are privy to the strengths and weaknesses of our armed forces and it does not help for the planning of defence of our country when we expose our acquisitions and military might to the entire world……We need to desist from this habit”
The Minister said threat analysis carried out by security experts indicated that such platforms were needed by the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) to meet current security concerns, future challenges and to perform roles their roles professionally.
“Our strategic assets are at stake and need to be defended and we must start thinking seriously about how to secure our new oil fields, extensive maritime resources and coastline….This is the crucial time to retool the Ghana armed forces.
“And we must also have confidence in the people put in charge of security services including the military and not take our relative peaceful environment for granted”, said Lt. gen. Smith.
Touching on the order of five aircrafts for the Air Force, the Minister said it was in line with strategic plan to modernize and improve the combat readiness of the GAF and to build confidence in the institution to defend the country resoundingly.
The aircrafts include an Embraer 190 jet, two Diamond Aircraft for surveillance purposes and two Airbus C295 multi-purpose aircraft.
An emotional Lt. Gen. Smith debunked accusations that the prices of the acquisitions were inflated as per a price quotation from an internet site that is not authentic, stating that the due diligence and regards to the procurement laws of the country were duly observed in the transaction.
He said an amount of 105, 370,177 Euros quoted for the Embraer did
not only account for the aircraft but for accompanying functions, including specific customization and configuration, training for pilots, technicians, engineers, logistics and spare parts backing for at least four years, as well as a hanger to protect that investment from the vagaries of the weather.
The two DA42 surveillance aircraft would cost 11, 750 million Euros, whilst the two CASA 295 would also set the country back some 60 million Euros.
The Minister said the aircrafts and the accompanying components would be used for generate substantial funds from the UN as well as other commercial outlooks to, within five years, settle debts arising from the purchase.