The Member of Parliament for North Tongu Constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for travelling by commercial aeroplane “for the first time in a year”.
The lawmaker is noted for consistently condemning the president’s use of an expensive private jet for his foreign travels at the expense of the poor taxpayer while the presidential jet is in good shape.
According to him, “unimpeachable and impeccable tracking” revealed that “this is the first time in at least a year, President Akufo-Addo has jetted out of the continent without using a profligate and sybaritic charter at a profound expense to the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer”.
President Akufo-Addo left Ghana on Monday, March 7 to attend this year’s Dubai Expo in the United Arab Emirates.
Ablakwa, as usual, took to his Facebook page to praise the President, saying although his change from profligacy to frugality took a lot of endless pressure from him and other well-meaning Ghanaians, it is better late than never.
“When our elected officials finally exhibit good judgment, even if it took great struggle from us, we should be courageous and objective to acknowledge their penitent conduct,” he wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday, March 8.
The government has been asking Ghanaians to sacrifice and pay more taxes to help redeem the country from its current economic woes but the call has been met with fierce resistance. Some analysts have urged the government and its officials to lead by cutting down on profligate expenditures on their part before they can have the moral right to ask for more from the suffering citizenry.
Tentatively, it is in line with these calls that the President has chosen to abandon his penchant for hiring a luxurious private jet and boarded First Class on Emirates for his latest travel to Dubai.
Below is the full Facebook post made by Mr Ablakwa.
“I sincerely applaud President Akufo-Addo for flying commercial to the Dubai Expo as he left Ghana yesterday.
When our elected officials finally exhibit good judgment, even if it took great struggle from us, we should be courageous and objective to acknowledge their penitent conduct.
“From our unimpeachable and impeccable tracking, this is the first time in at least a year, President Akufo-Addo has jetted out of the continent without using a profligate and sybaritic charter at a profound expense to the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer.
“President Akufo-Addo who has defiantly flown on ultra-luxurious chartered executive jets for all his trips outside Africa since May last year deserves some credit for finally listening to an outraged public and surrendering to legitimate patriotic pressure from struggling Ghanaians reeling under an economy in tatters.
“By commendably opting to fly First Class on Emirates and avoiding another extravagant charter, President Akufo-Addo has saved the Ghanaian taxpayer an impressive US$468,000.00. That is equivalent to a staggering GHS3,306,139.20.
“So, instead of doling out another colossal instalment of 3.3million Ghana Cedis to a European company, we get to keep it in Ghana, and hopefully, use it for something more prudent.
“It is important to bear in mind that Global Jet Luxembourg, operators of the President’s favourite flying toy — the Boeing 737-97YER(BBJ3), registered LX-DIO, had earlier informed their clientele that due to prevailing global economic conditions, beginning this month of March, it would now cost approximately US$18,000.00 per hour, and no longer US14,000.00 to rent the ultimate flying symbol of obscene ostentation.”
“For the first time in about a year, the LX-DIO is resting at the Paris–Le Bourget Airport when its most devoted passenger is on official travels outside the African continent. This is why the latest conduct by President Akufo-Addo is both significant and most refreshing, as we pray it is not a fluke but a permanent change in conduct. “Even if he refuses to use Ghana’s Presidential Jet, this option presents a more frugal alternative and may help remind Ghanaians that this is a president who once promised to protect the public purse.”
“But, of course, the biggest credit must go to the overwhelming number of Ghanaians who have been unwavering and relentless in fighting and resisting the blatant, unconscionable dissipation of our taxes just to satisfy the president’s lavish fantasies.”