President Nana Akufo-Addo has described the decision by the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, to appoint former President John Agyekum Kufuor, as its first Chancellor, as well-deserved.
He said it is entirely appropriate that the former President, who was responsible for ensuring that the Western University College of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, through presidential assent on November 12, 2004, becomes UMAT’s first Chancellor.
The President stressed that “it is a well-deserved honour, given in recognition of the immense work you did, during your time as President of the Republic, not only for UMaT, but also for Mother Ghana. Ayekoo. I commend the authorities of the University for this admirable gesture.”
He made this known on Friday at the Investiture of former President Kufuor as Chancellor of the University, at a ceremony held at the UMaT Auditorium.
Applauding UMaT for the important role it is playing in producing industry-oriented graduates in engineering, together with its research findings, President Akufo-Addo stated that UMaT puts Ghana, a country rich in minerals and with a 1,000 year history of mineral exploitation, in a strategic position to be a global leader in mining and its allied industries.
He commended the University also for its contribution to the fight against galamsey through the training of 400 small-scale miners, with an additional thousand 1,000 more set to be trained this year, and the manufacture of “Sika Bukyia”, a direct smelting kit for the recovery of gold without the use of mercury.
Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the President noted, intends to facilitate the manufacture and sale of ‘Sika Bukyia’ to all licensed small-scale miners.
With Government determined to exploit the country’s bauxite and iron ore deposits, with the Ghana Integrated Bauxite and Aluminum Development Authority set to spearhead this, President Akufo-Addo was delighted about the progress made in a novel technology being promoted by UMaT, which involves the use of plastic waste to upgrade bauxite ore to yield 90% alumina, as against the present grade of 40% to 45%.
“As a result of this technology, the value of the ore will increase some tenfold. The research work being undertaken here is invaluable, and will assist greatly in our nation’s quest to transform our economy from a raw material producing and exporting one to a value-added, industrialised economy,” he indicated.
It is for this reason that President Akufo-Addo congratulated the Vice-Chancellor, the staff and team of administrators, for sticking to UMaT’s core mandate of engineering education, to complement efforts to advance the National Policy of achieving 60:40 student ratio for the Sciences as compared to the Humanities, through the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
“I wish to assure you that the Akufo-Addo Government will insist that the process of equipping UMaT with the requisite logistics, involving the rehabilitation and equipping of existing laboratories, and the construction of new buildings, that is currently ongoing, will be systematically pursued, to enable it deliver effectively on its mandate of teaching, research and service to the community,” he said.
The President continued, “I have been informed about the number of legacy projects on campus. The energetic Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, has assured me that, through the Minerals Development Fund, these legacy projects will be completed soon in commemoration of today’s event.”
With the Wassa Fiase Traditional Area donating 26 square kilometres of land to the University, for the construction of a 20,000 student capacity campus, President Akufo-Addo announced that “Government will give an annual special budgetary allocation of GH¢5 million to the University for the realisation of the project.”
President Akufo-Addo congratulated the University Council of UMaT for its decision, in accordance with the Statutes of the University, to rename the institution after George Alfred Grant, the legendary Axim-born entrepreneur, ‘Paa Grant’.
“It is a most excellent decision, which has received the agreement of the President of the Republic, so that, once the parliamentary process has been completed, this University will be called the George Grant University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa,” he said.
The President explained that it is wholly fitting that “this great, modest man, who can lay legitimate claim to being the father of modern Ghanaian nationalism, should be properly honoured by a grateful posterity, i.e. by us who are the heirs and beneficiaries of the freedom he so valiantly fought for, especially by citizens of his native Western Region.”