An urgent question being posed to the Finance Minister on the cost of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s recent controversial trip to France, Belgium, and South Africa, has disappeared from the order paper.
The urgent question was filed by the Minority spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa at least three weeks ago and advertised on the order paper for Wednesday, June 16, 2021.
It was scheduled to be taken Thursday, June 17, 2021, however, a printed copy of the order paper for Thursday’s sitting does not contain the said urgent question.
Mr Ablakwa was scheduled “to ask the Minister for Finance how much the President’s recent official travels to France, Belgium, and South Africa in May this year cost the Ghanaian taxpayer.”
Meanwhile, all the other questions advertised earlier have been scheduled for Thursday except the question on the cost of the controversial presidential trip.
Also, two urgent questions were advertised for the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to provide answers to, but now only one question has been scheduled to be addressed by him on the floor of the House.
On Wednesday, Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, justified Akufo-Addo’s decision to ditch the presidential jet for a top-of-the-range luxury aircraft owned by Acropolis.
The Minister was specifically dragged to Parliament to answer the first leg of Ablakwa’s question on the airworthiness of the Presidential jet.
According to Mr Nitiwul, the ultimate factor in deciding the type of aircraft the President uses for his trips is “safety”.
He insisted that the challenges with the current presidential jet such as the limited passengers it can carry, the number of times required for refuelling on a trip, and luggage capacity among others, makes the aircraft not fit for purpose.
He concluded that no President can even take his shower on the aircraft when the need arises.
“This aircraft will carry a load of 11 persons minus the crew. When this aircraft is travelling to the eastern part of the USA or Asia, it will not load a crew of more than eight plus the luggage. So it depends on where it is going. Secondly, I have also said the aircraft has to do refuelling stops, and also in this COVID-19, when you are travelling to multiple destinations like the president’s recent travel, the Falcon couldn’t have been taken because he would have had to do technical stops which are not desirable, and when he is travelling with more than 20 people like he has been doing for business trips that brought huge sums of money for this country, he will need more than just a Falcon, otherwise, the others would have to go a day ahead before the president to prepare themselves.”
“In fact, the president would also have to go a day ahead because no president can shower in this aircraft. He cannot move from this aircraft straight into a meeting.”
According to Mr Ablakwa, it cost the taxpayer £15,000 an hour when President Akufo-Addo rented the Acropolis jet.
By: Stella Annan |myactiveonline.com