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We Are Purchasing Planes Not Tico Or Land Cruiser – Okudzeto   
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Audio Attachment:Listen to Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

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Deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has slammed critics, especially members of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) who have questioned the propriety of the NDC government’s decision to purchase five new jets at what they claim to be exorbitant price.

Justifying the price of the aircraft, Mr. Ablakwa stated categorically that the NDC government is buying five new aircrafts for the military not a Tico or a Toyota Land Cruiser, hence the cost involved.

There was intense debate on Thursday, July 21st, between Minority MPs and their Majority counterparts in Parliament over government’s decision to purchase five new jets at a cost of Euro 71 million and $105,370, 177.09.

The fleet included the Embraer E 190 jet with a hangar to be purchased with a loan of $105,370,177.09 from the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES); two BA 42 MPP Guardian Surveillance aircraft with a loan of €11.75 million from the Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited and another two CT95 Military transport aircraft with a credit facility of €60,034,636 from the Deutsche Bank SAE of Spain.

The Minority argued that the acquisition of the jets could have an adverse effect on the economy, and also insisted that the Embraer 190 is not built to airlift military personnel.

But speaking in an interview with Kwami Sefa Kayi on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo Morning Show, Okudzeto Ablakwa dismissed assertions by the NPP that the Embraer 190 aircraft is not being acquired as a “Strategic Airlift Aircraft” to “significantly enhance the operations of the Ghana Armed forces, especially in its peacekeeping operations as put out by the government.

“We are buying aircraft not Land cruiser or Tico or Nissan Toyota so it is important for us to look at the facts of the matter. This is not the first time we are buying aircrafts, in 2006, the NPP bought four aircrafts, EK 28 light fighter jets and we didn’t make any noise. The only issue we had at the time was that they had purchased these aircrafts without parliamentary approval,” he noted.

He said a real debate will be welcomed if the NPP comes up with a better alternative than the “inflated” price they claim government is touting.

“If someone will come up with a better solution that this same entertainment equipment can be acquired at a cheaper price, then the debate can go on but if they keep raising unnecessary red hearings that because it contains entertainment facility then it is an executive jet, then I think they are not being fair,” he added.

The Deputy Information Minister also debunked claims that the Embraer was an executive jet.

“…it is unfortunate the impression being created that fitting entertainment equipment in the aircraft indicates it is not for the military…it is hard to comprehend that some could reason that apart from the executive, any other group of people deserve substandard equipment,” he added.
Source: Beatrice Adepa Frempong/Peacefmonline.com

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