President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Tuesday, urged tougher controls to curtail the local manufacture of arms to enhance the security needed to ensure national socio-economic development.
He said the assumption that all arms circulating in Ghana were smuggled into the country from neighbouring states was erroneous because a sizable quantity of small arms and light weapons being proliferated in the country were manufactured locally.
The President was addressing the members of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons, who called on him at the Jubilee House in Accra.
He emphasised that the important steps being taken to regulate the movement of arms from the sub region into Ghana, must be matched by the equally stringent controls of the manufacture of arms locally to check the many violent crimes committed those arms.
“…In fact our own domestic facilities who manufacture the arms are not very sophisticated but they exist, and are part of the security architecture of our country,” he stated.
“We can publicise and bring as much attention of our society to it so that we can control those who engage in this industry”.
President Akufo-Addo expressed the hope that through the collective efforts of government, the Commission and civil society, substantial gains would be made in that direction to guarantee the security for needed for the maintenance of peace and order and development.
He commended the Commission for its focus on achieving its mandate, saying that, their work was acknowledged as a difficult one and assured them of the full support of the Government.
The Reverend Dr Paul Frimpong Manso, Chairman of the Commission, stated that there was need to review the current Arms Control Legislation to reflect the emerging issues in that sphere.
“I am glad to report that the Commission is taking steps in that direction and would in due course present a draft Bill on Arms and Ammunition through the Hon. Minister for the Interior to Cabinet for consideration,” he said.
“The Bill seeks to close the gaps in Ghana’s Arms and Ammunition control. Mr President, we humbly ask that when the Bill gets to your desk, you will give it the necessary attention”.
Rev. Frimpong Manso appealed to the Government to help the Commission secure a suitable office accommodation, and inject the needed financial resource and logistical support to enable able the institution to open offices in all the regions.
It would also help to prioritise the Small Arms Commission’s work in its interaction with donors.