Matters Arising Over Presidential Jet
Matters Arising Over Presidential Jet Website
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Interior and Defence has deferred meeting on the budget for two air crafts that government intends to buy. The two aircraft, a 12-seater Falcon 900 which is to be used as a presidential jet and an Airbus for the Ghana Air Force. The Committee is demanding clarification on the total amount involved in the transactions. Documents made available to Joy News indicate that the cost of the aircraft is higher than the initial $37 million quoted. The cost as indicated in the document states an additional $6 million which raises the amount to $43 million. The additional $6 million is said to be for optional specifications, which according to the Committee are not clear. The document also states that the prices for the two aircraft are subject to escalation. Speaking to Joy News, Mr. Felix Twumasi-Appiah, NDC MP for Sene, who is a member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Interior and Defence said parliament agrees that it is a good idea to acquire an Airbus for the Air Force and the Falcon 900 for use as a presidential jet, because the Air Force needs to be re-equipped and there is need for a presidential jet, but there is no clarity about the costs. Responding to the issues, Mr. Andrew Awuni said the document before parliament is a proposal to acquire six aircraft which includes an Airbus 319 jet, a Falcon 900, and two Y 212 military jets. The Airbus, Y 212 jets are for the Ghana Air Force. The Y 212 jets according to Mr. Awuni are used as ambulances and for parachuting. He also said the military jets would be reimbursed by the United Nations (UN) over four years. He said the UN would use the aircrafts for its peace keeping services and after a while it would become the property of Ghana. Another issue which minority members of the Committee raised was the fact that 5% payment has been made upfront for the aircraft, but Mr. Awuni said no such payment has been made. He added that the document before parliament is only a proposal which is subject to parliamentary approval. Reacting to the issues, Mr. Emmanuel Enning, of the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre was concerned that a lot of meaning is being read into the purchase of the jets. He told Joy News that the country needs to provide its Air Force with the tools to work. In his view, acquiring a presidential jet gives Ghana a sense of national pride and dignity, adding that the essence of presidential trips is to create business opportunities for the country. He also said that the fact that president Kufuor will not be in office when the jets would have been delivered shows the good intentions of the president. And he also thinks that buying the jets is a good investment for the country. Meanwhile, the parliamentary committee would meet on Monday to take a decision on the proposal.