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General News of Thursday, 30 September 2021


Presidential jet saga: Ablakwa has full support of Minority - Haruna Iddrisu

Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader in parliament Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader in parliament

The Minority Caucus in Parliament fully supports its Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee on the subject of presidential travels and the ‘fight’ against recent plans by the government to purchase a new jet.

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu in his first public comments on the issue stressed that North Tongu Member of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa’s views on the presidential jet saga reflects that of the National Democratic Congress in Parliament.

“I think he is the Ranking Member for the Committee on Foreign Affairs and therefore he reflects our position on issues affecting the pursuit of foreign policy and diplomacy,” he told Citi TV’s Bernard Avle on the Point of View programme which aired on September 29.

On the substantive issue of the jet, Haruna joined persons opposed to the idea citing harsh economic realities which made the move a case of misplaced priorities and expenditure.

“What is it that we hear because the president cannot bathe in the air, he should go and buy a presidential jet and therefore we should be interested in the comfort of the president when Ghanaians are reeling under economic hardships,” he stressed.

He blamed the government for the lack of transparency on the issue of how much the presidential travels have cost the taxpayer. He admits, however, that such trips are necessary citing the specific case of the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

“The caucus will meet as a matter of necessity… He (Ablakwa) is providing leadership as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, he is monitoring every detail of the president. I don’t respond to individual positions on the matter, I’m to lead a collective and I will lead the collective,” Haruna noted.

Speaking to the media on Monday, September 27, at the Jubilee House, the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin hinted: “Government is already in the process of acquiring a bigger jet for use.

"The Minister of Defence has made it clear that the government has decided to buy a bigger jet to save us from all these troubles. I wouldn't want to go into details. I am sure when the Minister of Defence has the opportunity he will do that."

Eugene Arhin was answering a question on whether the government intended buying a bigger aircraft to accommodate the President and his entourage on official foreign trips as the current presidential jet had proven inadequate for the purpose.

He explained that the move to get a bigger fit-for-purpose aircraft was part of a cost-saving measure on the travels of the President and other key state functionaries.

Eugene Arhin did not give the specifics of the aircraft deal but said the Defence Minister would shed light on the development at the appropriate time.

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