President Akufo-Addo briefing journalist yesterday after the three day retreat
President Akufo-Addo has finally placed a ban on the sale of state vehicles to government officials two years after they have been used as against the established convention over the years.
It follows the recent controversy over the sale of state vehicles to some members of the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
Addressing journalists after a three-day retreat with his ministers at the presidential lodge at Peduase in the Eastern Region yesterday, President Akufo-Addo did not only justify his decision to place a temporary ban on the purchase of new vehicles for officials of his administration, but also said “at the same time a policy that has worked so far which has run into a lot of problems because of the way it has been abused – which is that officials can buy [official] cars. That policy will no longer work.”
Present were Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia; Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare; Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo and the ministers.
The Mahama administration at a point also banned the purchase of state vehicles by officials, but he ended up flouting his own directive when he granted all his appointees, including foot soldiers working at the presidency – Flagstaff House – the luxury of buying state vehicles at highly ridiculous prices. It was like parting gifts for all the people he had worked with.
No New Cars
In view of that, President Akufo-Addo told his ministers, “No official is any longer going to have the opportunity to buy any official car, so that we put an end to [the constant buzz], ‘Where are the cars? Where are the cars?’ Nobody is going to have that capacity anymore.”
Under the current circumstance, he noted, “No matter how dilapidated the vehicles in our fleet are, we are going to have to make do with them.”
His decision was borne out of the fact that “these are difficult times for the Ghanaian people and we should be seen to be acting and respecting that.”
The decision to spend the weekend at the presidential villa, the president said, was because “it’s important that we review where we are and decide for ourselves where exactly we want to go to the next stage.
“That’s exactly what we have spent the last three days doing, reviewed the performance of our government…and satisfied ourselves about the things that we need to do to realize the agenda that has been set before our country.”
Apart from that, he stated, “We’ve also had the opportunity to strengthen the bonds of cooperation amongst us. Government, if it will succeed, has to be teamwork; it cannot be one person or a group of individuals acting out of their own little corners.”
He underscored the fact that “it has to be a group of people coming together with a common programme, common ideas and working to realize those ideas in a spirit of team work and of cooperation.”
Touching on the controversial Delta Force issue which has almost become an albatross around the neck of the current NPP administration, this is what the president had to say, “In all the difficulties that have emerged, the events of Kumasi, we believe that those events are systematically being brought under control in the way that they should be.”
“The commitment that we made that we are going to serve Ghana under conditions of law, we’re not wavering in that commitment.
“We believe that the overwhelming majority of the Ghanaian people support us in that commitment. Collectively, we are determined to deliver; we want the Ghanaian people to know that all those things we said we were going to do, which we have begun to do, we are determined to do.”
He added, “I’m satisfied that these three days that we’ve spent here at Peduase has established for me that sense of togetherness, that sense of oneness that we need.”
President Akufo-Addo indicated, “Everybody has had the opportunity to contribute to the work that we’ve done here this weekend; so we are leaving here in very high spirits.”
He wants the retreat to be a constant feature of his government.
The early days of the Nana Addo administration were characterized by a tussle over the number of vehicles in the presidential pool.
The row was sparked with the presidency revealing that about 208 of the vehicles bequeathed to the new government by the Mahama administration could not be traced.
In the heat of the allegations, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo-Prampram, Samuel George, indicated that about 271 of the vehicles allegedly missing from the Flagstaff House were purchased by some officials of the previous Mahama administration after a valuation from the State Transport Company.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent