Sunday, 03 July

We'll frustrate move to buy new presidential jet – Ablakwa

North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

The Member of Parliament for Tongu North, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has said the Minority Caucus in parliament will frustrate attempts by the Akufo-Addo-led government to purchase a new presidential jet in the midst of the country’s economic challenges.

According to the North Tongu legislator, the government should not be planning to buy a presidential jet when it is slapping taxes, including the proposed E-Levy contained in its 2022 Budget statement, on the citizenry as a means of generating revenue to address the country’s economic challenges.

In a post on Facebook on Wednesday, 15 December 2021, Mr Ablakwa said: “A government which claims to be facing one of the most difficult economic challenges of the modern era and for which it seeks to railroad an obnoxious and regressive E-Levy, should not be holding consultations for the purchase of a new presidential jet.”

He added: “We shall ‘frustrate’ this, too, consistent with the Akufo-Addo doctrine on priorities as contained in the parliamentary Hansard of 15 February 2000.”

The Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, said on Tuesday, 14 December 2021 that consultations were being had toward the purchase of a new jet for government business.

In a response to a question on the floor of parliament, Mr Nitiwul said: “The Ghana Air Force has, indeed, written to the Minister of Defence to secure for the use of government business, the main aircraft for the communications squadron for the Ghana Air Force”.

“Mr Speaker, consultations are ongoing with the government, parliament, religious bodies and trade unions on the purchase of Ghana Air Force and Navy assets to enable the Ghana Armed Forces to efficiently defend our nation as expected,” he noted.

“The policy and strategy of the Ghana Air Force have been to maintain a minimum of 2 aircraft, which consists of the main aircraft and supporting aircraft that are expected to undertake government business. It must be noted that the CASA 295 is not suitable for government business in view of its design and features making it a pure military aircraft.”

A few months ago, the Director of Communications at the presidency, Mr Eugene Arhin, announced that the government was in the process of procuring a bigger presidential jet.

He told journalists at the Jubilee House on Monday, 27 September 2021, that: “You would recollect that when the government of President Kufuor left office in 2008, it had procured two jets – the current Falcon and a bigger one – but for one reason or the other, the bigger jet was cancelled, and we were left with just one”.

“That has happened but you will recall that the Defence Minister stated clearly that the government has decided to buy a bigger jet to save us from all these troubles.”

“I don’t want to go into the details but I am sure that when the Minister gets the opportunity, he will give further information on what the government is doing in that respect but I am sure of the fact that the government is already in the process of getting a bigger jet for use”, he added.