The former Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Prof Stephen Adei, has said “Ghana has become like a poor man who goes to the farm donning a piece of kente cloth” in reference to President Nana Akufo-Addo’s trips abroad in private jets.
The latest of such trips to the US and the UK, according to North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, cost the taxpayer GHS3.5 million.
Since May 2021, Mr Ablakwa said such trips have cost the nation GHS28 million.
Asked by Kwame Obeng Sarkodie on Accra100.5FM’s morning show Ghana Yensom about what he makes of the president’s trips by private jets to the neglect of the country’s presidential jet, the former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Prof Stephen Adei initially attempted shying away from the subject, saying:
“To be honest with you, I don’t want to talk about the president’s use of luxurious private jets because I don’t have all the facts except what you, journalists and politicians, have been putting out in the public domain but, as an economist, I don’t want to venture into it”.
Prof Stephen Adei noted: “If I make a comment and it later turns out that the facts you have put out there as a journalist are not true, then I’ll be caught in a tight corner, so, permit me to talk about things that I can vouch for”, he pleaded with the host.
Pressed further about what comments he could vouch for, Prof Stephen Adei said:
“We are a poor country and, so, whether it is Mahama or Akufo-Addo, it is not about flying around in a presidential jet because when you go to countries like Australia and other developed countries, their prime minister, for instance, uses a commercial flight; he doesn’t move with a huge entourage made up of 40 people and, so, I believe we have become like a poor man who goes to the farm bedecked in a kente cloth”.
“It is not just this government”, he caveated, adding: “It is something I’ve said over and over again”.
“If you’re poor and you wear a piece of kente cloth to the farm, it is not a good thing”, Prof Stephen Adei stressed, pointing out, “That’s all I can say”.
“Our size and the way we govern is too expensive”.
“It is not just the Akufo-Addo government; it’s been like that since time immemorial”.
“If we don’t stop, it won’t be well with us”, he warned.