Use of presidential jet by other heads of state: Move-in national interest – Minister tells Parliament
A move in national interest stipulating, the utilization of Presidential jet by other heads of state – Minister to Parliament
MS. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister designated for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, voiced out to Parliament concerning offering Ghana’s presidential jet to neighbouring countries head of state, was in the interest of the country.
Based on the requisite situation in the West African region, the leadership of ECOWAS in Ghana’s perspective, efficacious participation of West African leaders in meeting crucial for peace brokering in the sub-region leading to the approvals to the requests.
Ms Botchwey, at Parliament, said due to such amicable brokerage, Ghana and others live in a safe and secure neighbourhood.
She responded to the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa who upon enquires wanted to know the foreign policy on which requests from other presidents to use Ghana’s jet is approved, from 2017 to date the number of approvals and the insinuation on the Ghanaian taxpayer financially.
“As Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS, Ghana has had to exert extra efforts and resources to provide leadership in finding lasting solutions to the crisis in our ECOWAS sub-region,” she said.
In the wake of the recent Guinea political crisis, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, in his capacity as the ECOWAS Chair, not only convened an emergency summit of his colleague Heads of State but also facilitated the travel of some Heads of State to and from Accra.
The gesture ensured the participation of almost all Heads of State, although notice for the emergency meeting was very short.
“Mr Speaker, I wish to assure this House as well as the good people of Ghana that the government is not on a quest to wantonly dissipate state resources but is focused on pursuing a pragmatic foreign policy to foster regional integration and good neighbourliness which will ultimately inure to the benefit of Ghanaians and West Africa in general,” she said.
Moreover, she indicated that it was not the practice anywhere to bill states that were obliged to travel on the presidential jets of other states.
States, as part of bilateral and multilateral diplomatic relations, provided assistance of different forms to each other, she added.
“Thus, Ghanaian leaders have in the past been transported to different parts of the world on the presidential planes of other states.
“Similarly, Ghana has found it beneficial to our interest, in a peaceful and thriving West Africa, to lend national equipment for mediation efforts within the sub-region,” she explained.
Ms Botchwey emphasised that the practice of sharing travel resources among West African Heads of State and high-ranking officials was not a recent phenomenon.
“It is a matter of public record that during his tenure, former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, used to offer President J. A. Kufuor a ride aboard the Nigerian presidential jet to regional summits.