President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has given an assurance that the Open-Border Policy, adopted by the government since June 2017, will not undermine the economy.
He said a fundamental part of the government’s strategy for growth had been to associate Ghana strongly with the process of regional and continental integration, adding that the measures put in place by the government should make Ghanaian businesses more competitive in West Africa, Africa and beyond.
“It is for this reason that the government has taken the decision to open all our borders to operate for 24 hours. This will boost trade and tourism, and then, we can reap the economic benefits,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo was addressing the graduation parade of the Immigration Service Officer Cadet Intake 9 at the Immigration Academy and Training School at Assin Fosu last Wednesday.
“The opening of our borders is giving true meaning to the ECOWAS protocols on free movement of goods and persons, and will spur on progress and prosperity for our people. That is why, since June 8, 2017, the Aflao border post has been running for 24 hours, and same has been extended to Akanu and Segbe border posts. In due course, Elubo, Sampa, Hamile and Paga will follow,” he added.
The President said the government was mindful of the security threats and challenges that the policy might bring, especially, with the growing threats of terrorism in the region.
“Our security agencies have been put on high alert and are coordinating effectively with our neighbours to keep our respective countries safe,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo added that so far, the Ghana Immigration Service had played a key role in that coordinated effort, as it had provided critical and vital intelligence in addition to manning the country’s borders rigorously.
The President said the 24-hour opening of the borders had, however, increased the spate of smuggling of goods from the country and, therefore, urged the immigration officials to be vigilant in assisting to combat that scourge and help bring the perpetrators to book.
“I am determined that our open-border policy will not lead to the undermining of our economy, and I need your support to ensure that,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo said issues of migration had made Presidents and Prime Ministers lose elections in some countries.
“Immigration has been tied to global security, especially with growing threats of terrorism. The fear of attacks is driving a growing link between anti-terror measures and immigration policy. At the same time, immigration has been proven to be a strong developmental tool of many countries, playing a lead role in the rapid expansion of their economies,” he said.
For that reason, he said, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), in its 2016 manifesto, pledged that if it won the election, it would offer extensive training in specialist areas in the growing areas of crime detection and prevention, customer service relations, trends in global cross-border crimes and anti-terrorism tactics.
He added that the government would also provide modern and strategic equipment for the service to make its personnel more efficient, as well as offer competitive remuneration to enable the service attract the best personnel.
While commending the graduating cadets for their hard work and perseverance, President Akufo-Addo urged them to maintain a high level of discipline and strive not to compromise their professional ethics.
“Diligence, integrity, and honesty must be your watchwords in attesting to the words and motto of this school, which is discipline, dedication and hard work”, he said
Some of the graduating officers were awarded for their distinguished performance.
They were Officer Cadets Ansah Roger Copperfield, Theodora Naa Adoley Buckman, Salamatu Mumuni Abdulai and Yaw Brobbey-Kyeremanteng.