We ‘ill open borders if Ghana achieves 20m COVID-19 vaccination target—Interior Minister

The Minister of the Interior, Ambrose Dery,saysthe government will fully open Ghana’s borders if the 20 million vaccinations against COVID-19 target are achieved.

According to him, the decision by the government to shut down the borders was not unilateral, but was consistent with other safety measures and protocols instituted by other countries to fight the spread of the disease.

He said recent moves to acquire vaccines and the availability of vaccines donated by development partners indicated that the target would be realised soon.

“People who speak bad about the decision to close Ghana’s borders should know that government didn’t do it unilaterally. Our neighbouring countries took similar decisions as part of efforts to curb the spread of the disease,” he stated.

The Minister was speaking in Accra yesterday when he inaugurated the Governing Council of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS).

Chaired by Dr Edward Prempeh, the Managing Director of St. Edwards Clinic and founding fellow of the Ghana College of Physicians, other members of the Council include Kwame AsuahTakyi, Comptroller-General of Immigration; Adelaide Anno-Kumi, Chief Director, Ministry of the Interior; Peter R. Zwennes, representative of the Ghana Bar Association, Alfred TuahYeboah, Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and Dr Millicent Degraft-Johnson, representative of the Ministry of Finance.

Samuel Ayer, Deputy Commissioner of Immigration, GIS; Louis Obeng, Director of Passports, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration; Moses K. Gyamfi, representative of the Retired Senior Immigration Officer Association; Hagar Dery, Chief Executive Officer, H/DHR and Services and Senior Inspector Michael Odame, representative of junior officers of GIS.

The rest are Thomas Ewuntomah, representative of GIS and nominees of the President including Jabaah John Bennam and Aziz Futa.

Mr Dery stated that the government was committed to ensuring the GIS was transformed into a world class security agency that provides professional security services to support the country’s development.

 He said the erstwhile Council helped to chalk a number of successes including addressing welfare challenges.

In all, more than 3,000 officers, who had been due for promotion for years, were promoted to various ranks within the past three years.

As part of efforts to build a world class security agency, Mr Dery noted that, more personnel were recruited to augment the current staff and further expanded the GIS’ training facilities at AssinFosu in the Central Region.

Currently, the Service, he said, was establishing a counter terrorism team in partnership with the Ghana Police Service and other security agencies to rid the country off the threats of terrorism.

The Minister called on the public cooperate with immigration personnel to help deal with the presence of extremist activities which may be imported into the country.

On behalf of the other Council members, Dr Prempeh expressed gratitude to the government for the opportunity to advance the course of GIS.

He said the Council would undertake  a strategic role in helping the Service to provide much-needed security in the face of terrorist threats within the West African sub-region.

He called for an increase in the Service’s internally generated funds retention from 15 per cent to 30 to enable GIA undertake programmes and projects aimed at ensuring effectiveness.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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