Government has introduced a new policy that would facilitate the movement of potential travelers from member states of the African Union (AU) to Ghana.
The policy, termed ‘visa on arrival’ programme, is also expected to increase trade links between Ghana and other countries.
Ghana is the first country to implement the regime, which envisages to step up socio-economic development through tourism and other multilateral engagements with her peers on the continent.
President Mahama announced this when he treated senior citizens to a luncheon at the Banquet Hall of the State House, as part of the 56th Republic Day celebrations in Accra on Friday.
The Day, which was instituted in 1960 after the country gained sovereignty, initiated new civic traditions where the National Assembly replaced wigs and robes with Ghanaian apparel. It also created national awards to recognise excellence, dedication and selfless service to Ghana.
The annual luncheon to retired citizens is therefore to honour them for paying their dues in terms of carrying out their duties and responsibilities successfully during their working lives.
President Mahama said apart from opening its doors to all Economic Community of West African states, Ghana has also established a special Visa regime with Kenya and Mauritius and the implementation would increase the influx of tourists.
He promised to serve all categories of citizens in the country, but cautioned them play to their roles responsibly to achieve the country’s development goals and growth.
President Mahama said Ghana had over the years enjoyed peace and stability and it is therefore incumbent on Ghanaians to play their roles well to maintain the status quo.
“Let’s continue to live in peace and stability by exhibiting high level brotherhood and sisterhood in all corners of the country,” he added.
He reminded the youth to continue to tap the experience and expertise of the aged, since they have gone through a lot in their working days and therefore could continue to serve as national assets.
The current issues of moral decadence, indiscriminate disposal of waste and the other negative practices, President Mahama said could be minimized if the aged engage the youth groups in educational programmes.
Mr. Kojo Yankah, Former Minister of State, who represented the senior citizens expressed dissatisfaction at the rate at which national issues are being politicized to the apex in the media.
He said: “It is unfortunate that we are tearing ourselves apart on political party lines with radio stations inundated with heated arguments using intemperate language all over.”
Mr. Yankah, also a former Director of the Ghana Institute of Journalism said the situation has not only placed Ghana’s cultural norms under threat, but also created an environment where some public and private officials have become petty gods by neglecting their responsibilities in the society.
He urged all senior citizens to be concerned about those issues by participating in programmes that could drum home some useful social standards to the current generation and succeeding ones.
The former Information Minister said their participation and frequent educational programmes would eventually help in the reduction of moral decadence that is gaining ascendency in the country