The government of Ghana is in the process of procuring a bigger presidential jet, Director of Communications at the presidency, Mr Eugene Arhin, has disclosed.
He told journalists at the Jubilee House on Monday, 27 September 2021, that: “You would recollect that when the government of President Kufuor left office in 2008, it had procured two jets – the current Falcon and a bigger one – but for one reason or the other, the bigger jet was cancelled, and we were left with just one”.
“That has happened but you will recall that the Defence Minister stated clearly that the government has decided to buy a bigger jet to save us from all these troubles.”
“I don’t want to go into the details but I am sure that when the Minister gets the opportunity, he will give further information on what the government is doing in that respect but I am sure of the fact that the government is already in the process of getting a bigger jet for use”, he added.
This comes on the back of repetitive backlash against President Nana Akufo-Addo for renting jets for his foreign trips when, in the view of the critics, such as North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, he could have made use of the current jet.
Just about a week ago, the opposition MP revealed that the president, on his last trip to the United States of America for the 6th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, chartered the same ultra-luxury aircraft he used to the UK and Germany — the Luxembourg-based luxury jet registered LX-DIO, operated by Global Jet Luxembourg.
According to Mr Ablakwa, at US$14,000 an hour, Ghanaians should be expecting to pay US$616,000; that is GHS3.7million by the president’s return.
Mr Ablakwa noted that while Nana Akufo-Addo was travelling in a luxurious jet at the expense of the taxpayer, Ghana’s presidential Jet was being used by Liberian President George Weah.
“Our monitoring reveals that President Weah landed at the Roberts International Airport (Robertsfield) in Liberia onboard Ghana’s Falcon at 10:00GMT on 18 September 2021. It was the second time in the same week the Liberian leader was exclusively using our presidential jet,” he stated in a post on Facebook.
Mr Ablakwa further said a cumulative sum of President Akufo-Addo’s recent three luxury trips abroad imposes a colossal GHS10million on the Ghanaian taxpayer.
This is not the first time Mr Ablakwa has raised concerns over the cost the nation incurs anytime the President travels abroad and hires a luxurious jet for his trip.
The Boeing 737-900ER BBJ3 with Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN) 62515 and Line Number 5659 is a 19-seater luxury jet which has a HEX code 4D0213 which is configured VIP, has 2x CFMI engines and was delivered to the current operators in November 2015.
According to Mr Ablakwa, the jet comes equipped with multiple sections to guarantee exceptional comfort.
“It provides a VIP lounge for relaxation, Five-Star dining facilities, Royal Master bedroom, Cinema Room specially delineated for watching movies which is a separate accessory from other in-flight entertainment systems, and of course complete with a luxury shower.”
Mr Ablakwa said he will file another urgent question in Parliament demanding full disclosure on the cost of the President’s foreign travels.