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General News of Friday, 18 June 2021


Minority calls for a bipartisan probe into overpriced coronavirus vaccines

Haruna Iddrisu, Minority leader in parliament Haruna Iddrisu, Minority leader in parliament

The Minority in parliament is set to file an urgent motion for a bi-partisan probe governments decision to procure the sputnik vaccine at some 19 dollars.

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu speaking in parliament said the deal stinks.

He told the Speaker on Friday, June 18 that “Mr Speaker, we are filing an urgent motion on the health sector and to request for a bipartisan probe into Ghana’s procurement of COVID-19 vaccines at 26 US dollars and not 10 US dollars.”

Ghana has been cited in an investigative report in a Norwegian newspaper Vergens Gang for agreeing to procure the Sputnik V vaccines from a businessman at a unit price of $19 instead of $10.

The Ministry of Health has justified the purchase of Sputnik V vaccines at almost double the factory price, emphasising the negotiations were held at a time of scarcity of the products across the globe.

But a statement issued by the Ministry of Health on Wednesday, June 9 said: “We were torn between accepting the price to enable us have access to the vaccine or facing the situation of the seller withdrawing from the negotiations, to the extent that the 15,000 doses that had been shipped to Ghana were going to be rerouted to other countries.”

The statement signed by the Chief Director of the Ministry, Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari, noted that the government was unable to obtain direct supplies of the vaccines from the Russian government and so had to resort to one Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the supplies.

According to the Ministry, $10 was the ex-factory price but the Emirati offered to sell the vaccines at $25 per dose.

This was slashed by $6 after negotiations, according to the statement.

“This is the result of the cost build-up to the ex-factory price of US$10 per dose, taking into account land transportation, shipment, insurance, handling and special storage charges, as explained by the seller.

“These are the factors which led us to agree the final price of US$19 per dose,” the Ministry stressed.

It has assured Ghanaians that “it will endeavour to secure vaccines for the Ghanaian people, despite global shortages and cognisant of price and legal considerations”.