Minority Raises Concern Over Price Of Sputnik V Vaccine

The Minority in Parliament is worried about government’s agreement to pay $19 per jab of Sputnik V through middlemen instead of paying under US$10 for the vaccine.

According to them, other countries and multilateral agencies like the African Union (AU) purchased the same vaccines for under US$10.

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, made the observation at a Minority media briefing in Parliament House on the price of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines.

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu at a news Conference on June 16, 2021 justified the decision by the Ministry to purchase 3.4million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine using a middleman, Sheik Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum of United Arab Emirates at a unit cost of US$19 instead of US$10.

He explained that the Ministry had faced difficulties using country-to-country negotiations and other means to get the vaccine hence the reason for using an intermediary.

Mr Iddrisu also called on government to put in the necessary steps to abrogate the contract with the intermediary to purchase the SPUTNIK V vaccines for the country.

According to them, the contract in its current form was not in the interest of Ghanaians and whether payments were made or not.

“We the minority believe that this contract is not in the interest of Ghanaians and whether payments have been made or not, the contract is null and void and government must put in the necessary steps to abrogate the contract” he added.

Mr Iddrisu also stated that the argument by the Minister that using country-to-country negotiations faced difficulties was unconvincing to Ghanaians because the decision to purchase vaccines from an intermediary does not guarantee the safety and potency of these vaccines for the people of the country.

He alleged that the WHO had warned all countries including; Ghana to desist from the purchase of vaccines using intermediaries because it had the tendency of resulting in sub-standard vaccines that could be harmful to citizens.

He maintained that there still existed other channels such as the WHO, UNICEF, GAVI, COVAX that could assist Ghana to obtain standard and safe vaccines set at a price far lower than the US$19 per dose.

Mr Iddrisu also alleged that the Minority’s own investigations into the Sputnik V saga was that the Russian authorities had at all times been willing to deal directly with Ghana contrary to what the government had been claiming.

He said their checks the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) had opened direct engagements with over 30 Governments as at February this year including; African countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, Tunisia, Guinea and Algeria, saying they had a copy of a statement issued by RDIF in Moscow confirming this fact.

He said the Minority also established that the middlemen government was dealing with had no authorization on behalf of RDIF or Russian authorities to hold themselves out as agents, saying at best, they are imposters.

Mr Iddrisu also alleged that when the middlemen arrived in Accra they made no efforts to engage the Russian Embassy while the government did not also contact them for any due diligence neither were Russian Embassy officials invited into the meetings with them.

He said even more troubling was the purported Vaccine Supply Agreement between Ghana’s Health Ministry signed by Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu and H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum on 9th March, 2021 as they claimed violated Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution which required Parliamentary approval for international agreements of this nature.

He said the Minority would also explore other avenues under the Constitution and Standing Orders of the House to hold the Health Minister accountable for such failure.
GNA

Florence Akosua Gyeduaa
Florence Akosua Gyeduaa
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