Senior Vice President of IMANI-Africa, Kofi Bentil says he does not believe it is a waste of money for the country to purchase another presidential jet but it must be done in a calculating manner.

According to him, over the years issues of presidential jets have not only been shrouded in controversies and politics but the country is unable to appropriately maintain the jets, which are bought at exorbitant prices.

Speaking on Newsfile, on Saturday, Mr Bentil said that “I do not think it is excessive, frivolous, and a waste of money for a country like Ghana to own one or two jets for official presidential and other uses.”

He noted however that, “our history so far shows that we buy them at exorbitant, unjustified prices, we maintain them scandalously and then we sell them off at a loss. This country can own a jet but we must be very conscious and calculating about it.”

Mr Bentil, nonetheless, believes that there are many other options the country can utilise aside from owning a presidential jet that could come at a lower cost.

“We may have better options than just owning it, we should be calculating and deciding what the policy on presidential travel is going to be. We behave like a very rich country when it comes to presidential jets and travels. When it comes to providing schools and hospitals and things that ordinary people need then we remember we are a poor country.”

“Elsewhere you will find that even billionaires are shying away from owning jets, they are using services like the net jet where you have a pool, subscribe to it, you use it when you finish you send it back. I don’t see why we cannot use that. It cost a fraction of ownership.”

“There are schools of thought that it is better to charter the jet when you need it and send it back, it comes with a crew and everything, than to own it and maintain it,” Mr Bentil told Samson Lardy Anyenini, host of the show.

This comes after government made a decision to procure a new presidential jet, as indicated by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin.

According to Mr Arhin, the government is in the process of doing so.

He explained that the move to get a bigger fit-for-purpose aircraft was part of a cost-saving measure on the travels of the President and other key state functionaries.

This new development comes at a time when the incumbent government has been chastised by the Minority in Parliament and some members of the general public for President Akufo-Addo’s foreign trips by charted aircraft and not the presidential jet, the Falkon.

It was made known to the public by MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa that the President’s recent travel to Germany at the invitation of Chancellor Angela Merkel with Global jet Luxembourg company, allegedly came at a cost of $14,000 per hour.

Also, Mr Ablakwa alleged that the President’s trip to France, Belgium and South Africa on the G-Kelt aircraft came at a cost of £15,000 per hour.

In an interview, the North Tongu MP said he would demand some answers from the Foreign Affairs Minister when Parliament reconvenes, on why the Liberian President was allowed to use the Presidential jet.

Meanwhile, Mr Bentil believes that the country is seen as a rich state when it comes to presidential travels, the comfort and the privileges of leaders.

But, the politics need to be taken away when addressing the issue and rather have a critical look at the numbers and options that would better suit the country.



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