Minister for Defence Dominic Nitiwul has disclosed the Ministry plans to establish Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) across the country as part of the activities it intends to pursue in 2021.
FOBs are any secured forward operational level military positions, commonly referred to as military bases, that are used to support strategic goals and tactical objectives.
The budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Defence, Mr Nitiwul noted, will play a very critical role in satisfying its mandate and ensure that the territorial integrity of the state is protected.
According to him, the GH¢2.1 billion allocated to the Ministry is, however, a drop in the ocean considering the amount of work planned for the year.
Mr Nitiwul made this disclosure when he moved the motion for Parliament to approve a sum of GH¢2.102 billion for the Ministry of Defence for the year ending 31st December 2021.
He stated that today’s threats are real and bigger than what existed a couple of years ago and stressed that what is happening in neighbouring Burkina Faso will attest to that fact and the need to invest more to protect the country.
Mr Nitiwul stated that there is currently a forward operating base in Tamale and indicated another has been established in Bolgatanga with about 800 soldiers.
“The government intends to build more operating bases in order to secure the northern part of the country against terrorist attacks.
“In the coastal belt a forward operating base is being put up for the Navy at Nzelulenzu in the Jomoro District of the Western Region and is about 10% to 15% complete with the contractor still on site working,” he said.
The Ministry, Mr Nitiwul said, will engage in several activities including equipping the Armed Forces, the Air Force and the Navy because of contemporary threats and the fact that other countries in the sub-region are doing same.
Dr. Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings, Ranking Member of the Defence and Interior Committee and MP for Korley-Klottey, in her contribution to the motion stressed that the Army is key to the security and defence of Ghana’s territorial integrity by air, sea and land.
Ghana, she said, currently finds itself in a sub-region where there are lot of threats with regards to violence and extremism.
“We know of the security situation of Burkina Faso, which is our direct northern neighbour. We also appreciate the fact that a lot of these countries are completely landlocked; therefore Ghana remains a prime target.
“Without the necessary finances from the Ministry to support the Ghana Armed Forces, we will have an under-resourced and ill-equipped military incapable of protecting the safety of this country”, she added.
Dr. Zanetor stated that the 4th Engineer Regiment of the GAF is a very capable one whose expertise can be used to generate some Internally Generated Funds for the Army.
She therefore proposed to government to include the unit among those to receive contracts for the construction of roads as it pursues its year of roads agenda.
Chairman of the Defence and Interior Committee and Member for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyepong, seconded the motion and presented the report of the Committee to the House.
The budgetary allocation to the Defence Ministry, he said, is inadequate and will therefore adversely affect its activities for the year and called on the Finance Minister to address the huge shortfall.
He indicated that among its activities, the Ministry plans to expand the 37 Military Hospital and construct another military hospital in Tamale, which will have very positive impact for the healthcare sector.