Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has accused President Akufo-Addo of blowing taxpayers money on extravagant private jet travels even as the country goes through economic hardship.
According to the North Tongu MP, between May 16 to 25, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo spent a whopping £345,000 i.e. GH¢2,828,432.80 at the current exchange rate on his recent 9-day visit to France, Belgium, South Africa and back to Ghana.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said he came by the total amount through his personal findings and calculations which indicated that it was spent on a “top-of-the-range luxury aircraft” rented by Acropolis Aviation at £15,000 per hour.
In a post on social media, Okudzeto Ablakwa said: “Per Flightradar24, the G-KELT aircraft left Accra with the President to Paris on the 16th of May — a 6 and half hour duration. Airlifted the President from Paris to Johannesburg for 11 hours on the 23rd of May.”
“Then Johannesburg to Accra on May 25, was a five and half hour flight. This gives us accumulated flight travel of 23 hours, so at £15,000 an hour, it thus cost us a colossal £345,000. At the current exchange, that is a staggering ¢2,828,432.80.”
According to Okudzeto Ablakwa, “President Akufo-Addo [who] has been a leading voice for debt forgiveness in the international arena has been imposing additional regressive taxes back home, with the justification that the economy isn’t in a good shape.”
“Sadly, he consistently fails to lead by example in a period of austerity where his government is appealing to struggling public sector workers to lower wage increase expectations,” Okudzeto Ablakwah said in a recent opinion piece circulated to the media.
Samuel Okudzeto’s concerns stem from President Akufo-Addo’s decision to charter a private luxurious aircraft for his foreign trips that cost the Ghanaian taxpayer £15,000 an hour.
He described this as outrageous since Ghana already owns a Presidential aircraft, which is in perfect working condition, adding that should the President have travelled on the Presidential jet instead, “it would have cost Ghana less than 15% of this 2.8million Ghana Cedis.”
“Alternatively, far more affordable travel arrangements are available which could have aligned with the President’s rhetoric for sympathy from the west for African nations.”
Okudzeto Ablakwa said the manufacturers describe the aircraft President Akufo-Addo hired as “the most outstanding ambassador for Airbus Corporate Jets” – the most luxurious and the most expensive in the Acropolis fleet.
“The irony is that President Akufo-Addo engaged in this fantastic extravagance on his way to France to go beg President Emmanuel Macron for debt cancellation. Needless to add that President MacRon does not travel in such splendor,” he opined.
Okudzeto observed that such lavish spending in such a period of austerity sends the wrong message not only to the foreign powers whom the President was beseeching for debt cancellation but to the Ghanaian citizens who in recent times have been agitating for #FixTheCountry.
“I have therefore filed an urgent question in Parliament to compel the Akufo-Addo administration to be accountable to the Ghanaian people on this matter and ultimately to prick their conscience to end this obscene profligacy at this time of considerable economic hardships,” he concluded.