Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament for North Tongu, has called on government to pause consultations on the procurement of new aircraft for the President.
According to him, such consultation cannot be a “priority” since it will be some of “financial obligation” which would be imposed “very soon” on the Ghanaian taxpayer depending on the conclusion of consultation. Mr Ablakwa explained that the Ghanaian people should not be “saddled” with this financial obligation at this current point in time.
The North Tongu legislator emphasized that the expenditure that accompanies the purchase of a new aircraft is unnecessary due to the fact that Ghana is currently fraught with many problems that must be addressed.
“We are saying that you have no business engaging in consultation, just stop it. This cannot be a priority. This is a country that at this point in time, our frontline health workers, we still owe them. The promises we made to them; we say that we don’t have all the money to take care of them… Noguchi still has major issues and concerns about the equipment they need, we are still struggling to raise adequate number of vaccines. Thanks to the benevolence of other countries, we would not even have had vaccines at all. These are the matters that people expect the government to focus on”.Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
Cost of Presidential aircraft
On Tuesday, December 14, 2021, Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, in answering questions on the floor of Parliament, expressed that the procurement of a new aircraft is essential for government’s business, especially with the absence of Ghana Airways. He indicated that the government is currently holding consultations on the purchase of the aircraft with the likelihood of backtracking on the procurement if the need be.
Mr Nitiwul noted that the government had also contacted Airbus and Boeing on the purchase of the aircraft. He noted that if government decides to make the purchase, it will be a long-term commitment.
Reacting to this, Mr Ablakwa revealed that the cost of the aircraft hinted by Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul would not cost less than $100 million. He insisted that the cost of the aircraft does not “come cheap” per his market survey.
“That is not chicken change and you would have to pay now. You must come up with the money now before the delivery is made, whether in two or three years.”Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
Mr. Ablakwa explined that although the aircraft manufacturers can take a number of years to build and deliver a customer’s preferred aircraft, the payment is done immediately.
“You would have to pay now. You must come up with the money now before the delivery is made whether, in two or three years. It is the same thing that happened when the Falcon was purchased”.Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
In 2008, Mr Ablakwa revealed that President Kufuor had to come up with the money from Societe Generale to purchase the presidential aircraft. He intimated that the manufacturers, don’t care where the purchaser gets the money from.
“… You must deliver the funds, commit them, and then they would deliver at the end of the manufacturing timeline”.Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa