Minister-designate for Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah is willing to engage with Frontiers Healthcare Limited on a reduction of COVID-19 testing at the Kotoka International Airport
Non-ECOWAS passengers coming to Ghana by air are required to pay $150 for a 30-minute PCR COVID-19 test administered by Frontiers Health Care Limited.
Some have described the fees as outrageous and inhumane.
The Minister-designate said he will negotiate with Frontiers Healthcare Limited for a reduction if approved.
“Anything that will make Ghanaians satisfied, I will do it. If people are complaining that the cost [of the test] is too much I will sit with [Frontier Healthcare Services] if I am given the nod, interrogate the figures and if it’ll be possible for them to reduce the price, why not. If we can negotiate with them, we’ll do that,” Mr. Asiamah told Parliament’s Appointment Committee.
The government engaged Frontiers Healthcare Solution Services Limited to conduct rapid COVID-19 tests following the reopening of the airport to international passenger flights in September 2020.
But the minority wing in Parliament has on several occasions raised red flags and concerns about procurement breaches of the deal.
The company was at a point said to be operating whilst unlicensed.
The Health Minister-designate, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu had noted that the contract for the testing was given out under emergency procurement when he appeared before the Committee.
“We were not in normal times; we had to do things quickly and rectify them later,” Mr. Agyeman-Manu said of the situation.
“The licensing was even done on my insistence. When I went to do the checks and I found out that it hadn’t been done, and I told them to quickly let us go and rectify the anomaly before things get worse.”
Former Minister of State for Procurement, Sarah Adwoa Safo, also said she has no knowledge of the procurement processes adopted prior to contracting the firm.
She claimed she hadn’t seen the contract for the deal joining other previous minister-nominees who have not been able to give clarity on the controversial contract granted Frontiers Healthcare Solution Services Limited.
This is despite the fact that she was the chief advisor to the President on procurement matters.
Madam Adwoa Safo instead suggested the Finance Minister under Akufo-Addo’s first term, Ken Ofori-Atta may have answers.
“I want to state on record that the Public Procurement Act of 2003 was not changed during my tenure as Minister of State for Public Procurement so the supervisory minister which is clearly stated in the law is the Minister for Finance.”