The Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, has revealed that the procurement of a new aircraft is paramount for government business.
According to Mr Ntiwul, particularly with the absence of Ghana Airways, it is essential to have an aircraft that government can safely do business with, without relying on the existing one, which he believes is not safe.
Answering questions on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, Mr Nitiwul said that the government has contacted Airbus and Boeing on the purchase of the aircraft.
“While I contacted both Boeing and Airbus, they told me that it would take us about three years for them to be able to deliver a new aircraft for Ghana.
“What it simply means is that if I were to make a decision today and the Ghana government were to make provisions for the Ministry of Defense to purchase an aircraft, the new time for an aircraft to arrive will be the first quarter of 2025, this President will not sit in that aircraft as President,” he said.
He added that in a letter written to him by the Ghana Air Force, failure to procure a new aircraft would mean the task assigned to the Air Force will continue to face major challenges and limitations.
“However, consultations are ongoing with government, parliament and trade unions on the purchase of a new aircraft for the Ghana Air Force and Ghana Navy to enable the Ghana Armed Forces effectively defend our nation and carry out their duties as we expect,” the Defence Minister said.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has criticised the claim by the Defence Minister that the purchase of a presidential aircraft is paramount for government business.
Speaking with Evans Mensah on Top Story, Mr Ablakwa noted that the Ghana Air Force has not prioritised the purchase of a new aircraft.
He said the Ghana Air Force, together with other security organisations and ranking members of key committees in Parliament had an extensive briefing on the needs of the security operatives in the country. However, the Air Force never mentioned the need for a new aircraft.
“This is neither here nor there. The point is that it is long-term and will arrive in 2025 or 2026. That’s not the fundamental issue, the fundamental issue is that you are going to commit the Ghanaian people to this extra expenditure which is needless at this time, totally needless.
“We are saying that you have no business in consultations. Just stop it. This cannot be a priority, just suspend this. This cannot be the protection of the public purse,” he stated.