Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has praised President Akufo-Addo for boarding a commercial flight to the Dubai Expo held on Monday, March 7.
In a Facebook post, Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa noted that “this is the first time in at least a year, President Akufo-Addo has jetted out of the continent without using a profligate and sybaritic charter at a profound expense to the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer.”
Since last year, the MP for North Tongu has condemned using a chartered luxurious private jet by the incumbent government whenever President Akufo-Addo embarks on a foreign trip.
On February 12, this year, he alleged that the President spent over GH¢4 million on his 10-day trip to some European countries and Guyana.
He has accused the government of wasting taxpayers’ money and called on Ghanaians to hold government accountable.
But in his recent submission over the matter, Mr Ablakwa called on Ghanaians to be courageous and objective to acknowledge the government’s penitent conduct “when our elected officials finally exhibit good judgment, even if it took great struggle from us.”
“President Akufo-Addo, who has defiantly flown on ultra-luxurious chartered executive jets for all his trips outside Africa since May last year, deserves some credit for finally listening to an outraged public and surrendering to legitimate patriotic pressure from struggling Ghanaians reeling under an economy in tatters.”
“I sincerely applaud President Akufo-Addo for flying commercial to the Dubai Expo as he left Ghana yesterday [Monday, March 7],” he added.
According to him, the President opting for a commercial flight for the Dubai trip saved the Ghanaian taxpayer $468,000.00.
“That is equivalent to a staggering GHS3,306,139.20. So, instead of doling out another colossal instalment of 3.3million Ghana Cedis to a European company, we get to keep it in Ghana, and hopefully, use it for something more prudent.”
Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa also noted that Global Jet Luxembourg – the Boeing 737-97YER(BBJ3), registered LX-DIO, an aircraft reportedly used by the President for his foreign trips, has informed its clientele that due to prevailing global economic conditions, it would now cost approximately $18,000 per hour, and no longer $14,000 to rent the “ultimate flying symbol of obscene ostentation.”
“For the first time in about a year, the LX-DIO is resting at the Paris–Le Bourget Airport when its most devoted passenger is on official travels outside the African continent,” he continued.
Meanwhile, the MP for North Tongu has urged that the recent decision by President Akufo-Addo must “be a permanent change in conduct” and not a “fluke”.
Mr Ablakwa noted that even if the President refuses to use the country’s presidential pet, “this option presents a more frugal alternative and may help remind Ghanaians that this is a President who once promised to protect the public purse.”
Although the MP believes that the President must be commended for his initiative, Mr Ablakwa said the biggest credit must go to the overwhelming number of Ghanaians.
He said this is because they have been “unwavering and relentless in fighting and resisting the blatant, unconscionable dissipation of our taxes just to satisfy the President’s lavish fantasies.”
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