The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has disclosed the amount of money the state will cough up to pay for the travel cost of President Akufo-Addo for his latest 10-day working visit to France, Guyana, Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom.
According to a statement from the Presidency, H. E. Akufo-Addo will return to Ghana on Sunday, 20th February, and, in his absence, the Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, shall, in accordance with Article 60(8) of the Constitution, act in his stead.
Reacting to the President’s latest travel on his Facebook page, the North Tongu Lawmaker stated that his team’s comprehensive computation of the President’s flying time for his 10-day tour looks as follows: 6 hours and 50min from Accra to France; 8hours and 30min from France to Guyana; 9hours and 5min from Guyana to Germany; 1hour and 10min from Germany to France; approximately 1hour from France to Belgium; another 1hour from Belgium to UK; 6hours and 30min from UK back to Ghana.
“This works out to some 34hours of air travel — at US14,000 an hour, an initial bill of US$476,000 arises,” he added.
According to him, they have estimated incidentals such as: landing fees, ramp fees, segment fees, federal excise tax, 7-member crew oversight fees, 7-member crew per diem fees, wait time fees, short leg fees, de-icing fees, reposition fees, international fees and one-way fees to amount to a conservative figure of US$300,000.
“In sum, for abandoning Ghana’s Presidential Jet and obstinately choosing an extravagant and sybaritic option, the Ghanaian taxpayer should expect to cough up a staggering US$776,000 or the Cedi equivalent of GHS4,979,328.16 by the time President Akufo-Addo returns,” he stated.
Mr. Okudzeto further revealed that “none of the African Presidents joining President Akufo-Addo for these meetings are engaged in such unconscionable hedonistic misconduct — They are all making good use of their national presidential jets.”
According to him, the cost of the President’s latest travel is much higher than the GHS4.6million government has been unable to release to the Students Loan Trust since last year, making it impossible for the SLT to cater for the needs of thousands of tertiary students for more than a year.