President J.E.A Mills says some difficult decisions taken in the supreme interest of the nation by his administration recently, has been met with harsh criticisms, but opines that if other national-interest options were available those tough decisions would not have been taken.
He explained that government had had to take some tough decisions, especially concerning the oil industry in the supreme national interest, which had hurt some interests.
“If I had found some other options, I would not have taken those decisions but I am assured that we are on the right path because these decisions were taken in the national interest…I did not regret taking that decision, and given the opportunity again, I will do same for as long as the interest of Ghana continues to remain paramount in the Better Ghana agenda of this administration…," he said.
The Government of Ghana, through the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), recently prevented US oil company Kosmos from offloading its 30 percent share in the Jubilee oil field to another US oil company-ExxonMobil.
The decision almost soured relations between the two countries.
Minister of Energy, Dr Joe Oteng Adjei, was nearly refused a visa to the US in the aftermath. GNPC Board Chairman Ato Ahwoi was not so lucky. The US Embassy here in Ghana would not give him the all-clear to travel to the USA for business talks over Ghana’s oil.
Speaking at a luncheon held at the Banquet Hall, State House in honour of the aged to mark Ghana’s 50th year as Republican state on July 1, President Mills pledged that for us long as he continued to manage the affairs of the state, the oil discovery shall be a blessing and not a curse.
"…As more oil continues to be discovered, God forbid that anything will prevent the generality of Ghanaians from benefiting from the oil revenues…The oil and gas industry is a gift from God and it belongs to all Ghanaians and therefore we must use the revenue for the benefit of all Ghanaians," he stressed.
President Mills also used the occasion to laud the efforts of ex–President J.J. Rawlings for setting aside July 1st as a day to honour senior citizens, and also commended former President J.A Kufuor for continuing with the programme during his regime.
The President said the verbal violence which seem to characterize media discussions cannot help attain prosperity, adding that unity of purpose is the way to success.
"Sometimes when I read the papers and I listen to radio, I ask myself since when did the use of verbal violence and intemperate language help to build a prosperous language?…Those of us in leadership position have a serious responsibility because we have people who look up to us and my plea is that let’s pull these people along with us to the path of decorum,” He charged.
A spokesperson of the feted senior citizens, Colonel David Iddisah urged President Mills to focus on his development agenda and forget about his critics he describes as “arm-chair critics. He said emphatically that the President is on course.
Ghana attained the status of a Republic on July 1 1960, as sequel to the attainment of independence on March 6, 1957, led by Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
From that day, July 1, 1960, the Queen of England ceased to be the Head of State and the new independent Ghana took absolute control of its own destiny.
The celebration of the aged to mark Republic Day was introduced into the national calendar by the Administration of former President Jerry John Rawlings 15 years ago, and it was maintained by the Kufuor Administration and is being observed under the Mills government.