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Cost of presidential trips: Go to national security, says Ofori-Atta

The minister of finance on Wednesday (21 July) told Parliament that his ministry is not responsible for the president’s trips

Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance has said his office is not responsible for organising presidential trips, therefore, he is unable to respond to the cost of Akufo-Addo’s trips to France, Belgium and South Africa.

Ofori-Atta said, “The president’s domestic and international travels are matters to do with national security and the National Security Minister is best placed to furnish this honourable House with the details needed.”

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, NDC MP for North Tongu had alleged that Akufo-Addo spent a whopping GHC 2.8 million on a private jet on his recent trips to France, Belgium and South Africa.

Ablakwa then filed an urgent question in Parliament demanding that the government explains why President Akufo-Addo did not use the presidential aircraft for a recent trip to France.

According to the North Tongu Member of Parliament (MP), “It is an outrage and a blatant betrayal for Ghana to own a presidential aircraft in perfect working condition” and charter aircraft for Presidential travel.

But answering the parliamentary question on Wednesday (21 July 2021), Ofori-Atta said, “Mr Speaker, in line with the 2021 budget implementation instructions, the Ministry for Finance did not release any funds to the Chief of Staff, specifically for His Excellency, the president’s trip to France, Belgium and South Africa.

“The current practice is that Ministry for Finance releases quarterly funds to the Heads of Department, in this case, Office of Government Machinery, Chief of Staff for all the operational activities of the Office. To facilitate the safe coordination of the president’s travels, domestic and foreign, the Office of Government Machinery and the National Security Secretariat work together to achieve this.”

Listen to the audio below:

 

The NDC MP and Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in a Facebook post accused President Akufo-Addo of ostentatious spending even as the country goes through economic hardship.

According to Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, per his findings and calculations, the president spent £345,000, i.e. GHC2,828,432.80 at the current exchange rate in flight cost during his nine-day visit to France, Belgium, South Africa, and back to Ghana.

Subsequently, Ablakwa filed a question in Parliament, requesting for a probe into the president’s travel.

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