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General News of Sunday, 22 December 2019

Source: 3 News

NPP justifies Akufo-Addo’s GHC70 million travel expenditure

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Director of Communications for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Yaw Buaben Asamoah has jumped to the defence of president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo regarding the spending of close to GHC70 million on foreign travels, stating the travels were necessary for the country’s development.

His comments come on the back of demands by the minority in parliament, asking the Foreign Affairs Ministry to come and explain why such an amount was spent on the president’s travel when it goes beyond what was budgeted for the year.

The issue of expenditure came up when parliament was going through the 2020 Budget allocation for approval and went through a document that gives a breakdown of what was spent in 2019.

The document revealed GHC62 million was spent on direct travel expenses with GHC5.85 million being spent on hotel accommodation, while some GHC1.9 million was used for refreshment

Contributing to the issue on news analysis program The Key Points on TV3, Mr. Buaben Asamoah said the president embarked on the travels on behalf of the country, and that the money spent should not be in contention since the value will inure to the country’s benefit.

“That the records are there to show is important, accountability; that these expenses are not hidden from the public is important so then, the question is, once they are out there, are they even justified?…and I will say, an absolute yes.

“Yes, to the extent that the president has a duty to perform.”

“It all impacts on growth,” the NPP Director of Communications said on Saturday.

Addressing issues on the large entourage embarking on trips with the president which increases expenditure, Yaw Buaben Asamoah said the president always travels with a team from Ghana which is key to whatever mission the president is on in other countries.

“…he will go with that relevant minister to deal with sectorial issues he is going to attend to…,” Mr. Asamoah explained.

He advised the minority to wait for clarifications from government on the matter instead of drawing conclusions and pointing accusing fingers at government.

“I think we should look at rigorous explanations, rather than an assumption that something has gone dramatically wrong.”

Taking a bite of the expenditure issue on The Key Points, Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Okudzeto Ablakwa said the minority is worried about the lavish manner in which government spends the tax payers money.

“What we are really worried about as a minority are a number of issues, first, the prioritization. We are increasingly concerned that president Akufo-Addo and his government seem to believe in extravagance…”

He said there are priority areas like the construction of road networks, infrastructure at schools and healthcare facilities that these funds are needed for, instead of overspending on such travels.

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