Freeze on purchase of cars: Ablakwa hints of gov’t deceit

Member of Parliament for North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa is accusing government of throwing dust in the eyes of public with a directive to all Ministries, department and agencies not to purchase of new vehicles.

According to him some ministries have already bought the vehicles and wondered why government is now attempting to close the stable when the horse has already bolted.

He cited the Fisheries Ministry as one of the ministries that has bought its vehicles. His comments follow a letter written by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, dated March 21 which placed a moratorium on the purchase of new vehicles by MDAs until further notice.

MDAs, the letter said, have been directed to make use of the “existing fleet of vehicles in their respective transport pools.”

Madam Osei-Opare, however, noted that in extraordinary circumstances, MDAs that want to procure new vehicles “shall seek for and obtain the prior express written authorisation.”

The directive follow complaints from the presidency of some 208 state vehicles which could not be accounted for.

Deputy Chief of Staff, Samuel Abu Jinapor had indicated that the economic situation demands that measures are taken to curb expenditure.

He told Joy FM the ban was necessary in order to channel the resources that would otherwise have been used for the purchase of vehicles into the implementation of government’s “ambitious” projects.

“Capital expenditure is used for purchasing vehicles, but in this budget, the President wants to spend it on the productive sector of the economy,” he said.

He said the President wants the way things are done to be changed because the nation is living in extraordinary times. “These are not normal times.”

Mr Abu Jinapor said the President has been using a vehicle purchased in 2007 since his investiture and has not found the need to purchase a new one.

“That’s what he has been riding in [and] he is working to ensure that we manage the resources of the country judiciously,” he added.

The directive has been widely welcomed.

But Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa does not believe in the sincerity of the directive. During the vetting of the deputy Finance Minister-designate and MP for Obuasi, Kweku Kwarteng Tuesday, Mr Ablakwa claimed the directive was violated even before it was issued.

The former deputy Education Minister alleged that some of the ministries have already procured cars even before the directive was issued.

“If you go to the Ministry of Fisheries, the Minister is already using her brand new V8 land cruiser so I don’t know what that directive is really achieving,” he said.