“Stakeholder Consultations Taking Place Towards Easing of Restrictions” – Akufo-Addo Discloses
As part of measures of lifting the ban on social gathering in the country, President Akufo-Addo has disclosed that stakeholder consultations are taking place on the way forward towards the easing of restrictions, which will see the social and economic lives of the citizenry go back to normal.
According to the President, he is expecting the consultations to conclude this week adding it will pave way for him to announce to Ghanaians a clear roadmap for easing the restrictions.
Speaking at the 2020 virtual Eid celebration, President Akufo-Addo said “We have to find a way back, but in safety, for we cannot be under these restrictions forever”
He added he is hopeful that, next year, Muslims in the country will congregate as they have done over the years, and celebrate Eid ul-Fitr fully and without any restrictions.
President Akufo-Addo further explained that until the citizenry goes back in joy to Black Star Square, it is prudent the citizenry continues to maintain the measures of enhanced hygiene and social distancing protocols to contain the spread of the virus.
“I applaud the leadership of the Muslim Ummah – the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Dr Osman Nuhu Sharubutu; the Ameer of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Maulvi Mohammed Bin Salih; the Imam of the Ahl-Sunna, Al-Hajj Ibrahim Umar; the Qaid of the Shia Community, Shaykh Kamaldeen Abubakar; the Khalifa of the Tijaniyya Muslim Council, Sheikh Abul Faidi Ahmed Maikano; and the Imam of the Ghana Muslim Mission, Shaykh Amin Bonsu, for their high sense of patriotism and commitment to Ghana, and to the wellbeing of the Muslim faithful” he explained.
He also added that he is equally indebted to the National Council of Zongo Chiefs, who have worked tirelessly, and continue to work, to ensure that safety protocols are adhered to in the various Zongo communities.
President Akufo-Addo further disclosed that his government is bent on committing itself to creating a society of opportunities irrespective of social circumstance, place of abode or religious creed.
He also noted that the Zongo Development Fund, under the direction of the energetic Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development, Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, is pursuing an aggressive development agenda, as set out in Government’s Economic and Social Development Agenda.
“From Togorme Zongo in the Volta Region, through Dambai Zongo in the Oti Region, to Tumu Zongo in the Upper West Region, down to Axim Zongo in the Western Region, various development projects are springing up to address the development deficits of Zongo communities.”
President Akufo-Addo reaffirmed that although Zongo development agenda is a challenge that appears huge, it is no mean challenge, taking on the task of transforming the lives of over five million Ghanaians scattered in more than three thousand (3,000) communities across the country.
He further explained that for the country to create a society of inclusion and not of exclusion, then it is a challenge the citizens must take on, and overcome.
He said “Ulama, Jama! The task is big, but bigger still is our determination to bring prosperity to all our people. Whilst Government does its part to ensure the development of human capital in Zongo communities, I urge you to ponder on the first set of verses of the Qur’an to be revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Allayhi Wa’Salam, and I quote: “Read! In the name of your Lord who created who taught man by the pen. Taught man what he did not know” (Q: 96:1-5)”
FREE SHS POLICY
Touching on the Free Senior High School (SHS) Policy, President Akufo-Addo said “If the first commandment to the Prophet, from Allah, was to “Read,” then Islam is meant to be a religion of knowledge. I, thus, continue to admonish you to take your children to school”
He urged the Muslim community to take advantage of the Free Senior High School programme and the educational interventions that the Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development is making in Zongo communities, to educate our children, both male and female.
He explained that, within the current generation, he is confident the country can eradicate poverty, illiteracy and disease from our country.
“Ghana continues to be the envy of the world, because of the religious harmony that we foster among adherents of different faiths” he said.
President Akufo-Addo urged the Muslim Community to continue to promote religious harmony and peaceful co-existence adding it is the essence of Islam, which means peace and submission to the will of Allah.
COVID-19 Speaking on Covid-19, President Akufo-Addo hinted that he is fortified by three (3) considerations.
He said “Firstly, sad though any premature death is, the hard fact is that the rate of deaths in Ghana amongst confirmed cases is very low – one per one million, i.e. 0.0001%, one of the lowest in Africa, and, indeed, in the world, this, despite the very high number of tests we are carrying out. This has been so since the very beginning of the outbreak over two (2) months ago”
He explained that the number of positive cases stands at six thousand, six hundred and eighty-three (6,683), out of one hundred and ninety-four thousand, seven hundred and sixty-three (194,763) tests conducted, with one thousand, nine hundred and ninety-eight (1,998) recoveries.
President Akufo-Addo further revealed that the country’s positivity rate, that is the ratio of confirmed cases to the total number of tests conducted, is 3.43%, which, again, is one of the lowest in Africa, and in the world.
He said “Furthermore, virtually all the thirty-two (32) corona-related deaths, that have so far been recorded, were of persons with, what the doctors call, comorbidity, i.e. with other underlying causes and diseases. Most of them died within twenty-four (24) hours of admission to hospital. May their souls rest in peace. It appears that, by the grace of God, Ghanaians are not dying of this virus in the numbers that were originally anticipated and feared”
President Akufo-Addo also explained that the numbers of severe virus cases that have been hospitalised have been persistently low since the outbreak.
“The fear that our hospitals would be overburdened, and, indeed, overwhelmed has, so far, again by the grace of God, not materialised. As we speak, there are sixteen (16) severe cases in six (6) hospitals across the country, none of them on a ventilator. We pray for their speedy recovery” he revealed.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated that the country has a more robust mechanism for enforcing its central strategy of defeating the virus.
He said “The application of the 3Ts, tracing, testing and treating. The tracing teams are more experienced and more efficient; testing capabilities are no longer concentrated in Accra and Kumasi, but spread more evenly across the country in Ho, Tamale, Navrongo, Takoradi and Cape Coast; treating capacity has been considerably enhanced with isolation facilities better distributed across the nation”
President Akufo-Addo also explained that the developments and continuing strong adherence to the social distancing as well as hygiene protocols.
“The wearing masks and strengthening of immune systems by eating our own foods, will enable us to face the future with greater confidence, as we battle to defeat the virus, and pray for our healthcare workers. And, it is appropriate that we should end this unique Ramadan with this declaration of confidence in the future, because, as I have said, this too shall pass! For the Battle is the Lord’s” he stressed.
He wished all Muslims and Ghanaians a happy Eid ul-Fitr although a restrained one adding that he is hopeful the Almighty Allah will listen to the cry of the faithful.
Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith