Government set to purchase a new aircraft for Presidential travels – Eugene Arhin reveals

The head of communications at the Presidency, Mr. Eugene Arhin, has revealed that the government of Ghana is on the process of buying a larger plane for presidential travels.

As Mr. Arhin was answering a question about whether the government intends to purchase a larger plane to accommodate the president and his entourage for official foreign travel, he said “Government is already in the process of acquiring a bigger jet for use  because it turns out that the current presidential plane is not sufficient for this purpose.” he said this at a press briefing at the Jubilee House on Monday, September 27, 2021.

Mr. Arhin did not provide specific details of the aircraft transaction, but said the Secretary of Defense will explain the progress in due course.

He explained to details that the purchase of larger, suitable aircraft is part of the travel cost savings measures for the president and other major national staff.

The president’s travel abroad has recently aroused discussion on the airwaves and social media. Some Ghanaians asked why the president must take a private jet that is leased when the country has a fully functional presidential plane.

However, Defense Minister Dominic Nitiwul told the Parliament that the current presidential jet configuration, namely the Falcon 900EX purchased by former President John Kuffuor during the era, cannot meet the president’s travel needs and safety guarantees.

This new aircraft will carry a load of 11 persons minus the crew. When this aircraft is travelling to the eastern part of the USA or Asia, it will not load a crew of more than eight plus the luggage. So it depends on where it is going.

“The plane must stop and refuel, and in this COVID-19, when you travel to multiple destinations like the President’s recent trip, you cannot take a Falcon because he could have encountered undesirable technicalities”

“And when he travels with more than twenty people on a business trip that brings huge sums of money to the country like a business trip, he needs more than just a falcon, otherwise the others will have to set off a day earlier” – Eugene Arhin said.

Before leaving office in 2008, former President Kufuor made provisions for the Ghanaian Air Force to purchase two aircraft, including a larger jet, for state travel by the President and his delegation. But the deal was abolished by the Mills government.

According to the Secretary of Defense, if this arrangement is established, the larger aircraft will be deployed for strategic military evacuation, and can be reconfigured as a presidential plane for the president to travel to save the country. The huge amount of money spent by the delegation will be Travel before the President.

He told a private radio station in Accra that since the Mills government cancelled the purchase of a larger aircraft, the country had spent more than $50 million on government official travels.

When talking about the issue of appointing the Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Municipal and Regional Council (MMDCE), Mr. Arhin dismissed the allegations that some MMDCEs nominated by the president were not nominated.

He said that some civil society organizations (CSOs) claimed that approximately 44% of MMDCEs were not recommended by the three-person committee that reviewed their nominations, and 10% of nominees did not apply for these positions, which is wrong.

The Communications Director stated that those allegations were based on a supposedly leaked report on the nominees shortlisted for the MMDCE positions.

Mr. Alshin also stated that President Akufo-Addo has begun to assess the work plans of his ministers for the remainder of 2021.

Mr Arhin concluded that, the President was scheduled to embark on a week’s tour in the Eastern and Ashanti Region from Friday, October 1, 2021.

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