General News of Friday, 11 May 2018
An accountability group has questioned President Akufo-Addo’s decision to take a week-long vacation to the UK at a time it said the country is faced with a number of challenges.
The group, Alliance for Social Equity & Public Accountability (ASEPA), said it is worried by the “indiscriminate” foreign trips by Akufo-Addo, a situation it said, was draining the very public purse the president promised to protect.
“We are just about 5 months in the New Year and the President’s travel tally outside the country is almost hitting 20,” a statement signed and issued by the Executive Secretary of ASEPA, Mensah Thompson said.
The group pegged the cost of each presidential travel at between 76,000 and 110,000 dollars, which it explained, is dependent on the distance, duration and the number of entourage he carries on each trip.
“We believe this is piling undue pressure on the public purse and must be streamlined,” it said, and served notice to petition the Council of State Friday, May 11, 2018, on the matter.
The group said it expects that “the President will be advised accordingly [by the Council of State] to cut down on his desire for air trips”.
In its estimation, civil society groups and some Ghanaians in general “are not happy” about the frequency at which President Akufo-Addo travels outside the country.
“We are not totally against the President Akufo-Addo taking a break, but the time for a break is undue, inappropriate and unthoughtful,” ASEPA said.
“The country is bedeviled with series of challenges; the issue of graduate unemployment has become quite a topical issue following the launch of NaBCo and all we hear is the President is taking a break. Taking a break from what precisely?” it asked.
It contended that US president Donald Trump has managed to bring that country’s unemployment rate from 5.3 per cent to 3 percent and yet has not taken a break.
Again, “Emmanuel Macron of France is still dealing with the France Security situation and has not lifted his family to another country to have a break.
“This continuous action by the President brings his commitment towards his job and the Presidency under serious questioning and as such he must be called to order by the appropriate authorities and that is the Council of State,” it demanded