Don’t expect Sputnik V vaccine costing US$10 to be same price when it arrives in Ghana using middlemen – Dr. Afriyie

Yes, the government is ready to pay more in any deal to procure Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines but that cannot be said to be a rip off, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, Dr Nana Ayew Afriyie has said.
Dr Afriyie argues that the producers of the Sputnik V vaccine have decided not to deal directly with governments and rather deal with private persons.



It requires the use of middlemen whose activities will lead to an increase in the original price of US$10 per dose which is the factory price.

This, he said will definitely mean that, a private person will not sell the vaccine at the same factory price of US$10 per dose taking into consideration freight and other issues.

A report by a Norwegian newspaper published on June 3, 2021, alleges that the Ghana government has signed a contract for the purchase of Sputnik V vaccine with an Emirati official which it said was involved in the controversial Ameri power deal and a Norwegian citizen charged with money laundering in Norway.

The newspaper alleges that Ghana is buying the Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccine produced in Russia for $19 per dose instead of $10 the businessmen.



Related: Health Ministry to respond to allegations of buying overpriced Sputnik V vaccines

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has said it will respond to the allegation but even before that, the Minority in Parliament has called for a probe.

Reacting to the calls for a probe, Dr. Nana Ayew Afriyie, said there was no need for that since the concerns being raised over ‘abnormal’ pricing are misplaced.

He said although Ghana has signed agreements with suppliers, none of the consignments have been received and the government has not paid for them.

He said the government he was aware was desperately searching for vaccines to protect Ghanaians against the pandemic and has therefore agreed with some private companies for the supply of Sputnik-V vaccines but all those suppliers have not delivered their consignments yet.



He argued that Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the procurement of the Sputnik-V vaccines does not deal directly with governments.

It requires the use of middlemen whose activities will lead to an increase in the original price of US$10 per dose which is the factory price.

“We have not been swindled as a state. Even though we are in a desperate state to get vaccines, the policy of government which is a very good one is to get business persons to go into the Sputnik-V space.”

“The concept of the acquisition of Sputnik-V is one that the government must express interest in to acquire the vaccines from source unlike the COVAX facility. The Russian vaccine is a bit different, the RDIF which speaks to the production and supply of Sputnik V, prefer the use of middlemen, and any space that allows for middlemen, definitely, there will be prices that vary – especially those that the Minority quoted. ”

He added that; “Yes, the factory price is US$10 but when you get expatriates, and it gets out of the factory, there are a lot of factors that come in including the profit, commission and freight to Ghana. So you don’t expect a vaccine that costs US$10 at the factory to be the same price when it arrives in Ghana especially when a middleman is getting it.”

What the Norwegian newspaper said

According to the report published on www.vg.no, government signed the purchase contract for 3.4 million doses of the vaccine after it received an initial 16,000 doses from the two aforementioned names on March 3, 2021.

“It is 3 March and the moment of truth for Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu (65). A flight from the Emirates is taxiing to the terminal in Accra, capital of Ghana, where the Minister of Health is waiting. Out step two men: One is a Sheikh and second cousin of the ruler of Dubai. The other has been on the run from Norwegian police for years.

Read Also: COVID-19: Ghana to take delivery of 300,000 more vaccines – Prez Akufo-Addo

“Boxes containing a total of 16,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V are unloaded from the plane and placed in front of the Minister of Health. Six days later, the Ministry of Health in Ghana signs an agreement with the Sheik. They announce that they have reached an agreement regarding the purchase of 3.4 million vaccine doses. No price is publicly disclosed,” the report said.

It added that although the contract was for 3.4 million sold doses of the vaccine, the Ministry of Finance had only paid for 300,000 doses.

According to the publication, when the Ministry of Health was contacted to respond to the story, “a group of bureaucrats” told the newspaper that their job was to pay at the end of the day after the contract had been signed.

The Ministry of Finance in response to the story said the vaccines were purchased to “protect” people.

The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, when asked why he purchased the vaccine for $19 per dose, was quoted as saying: “I don’t know. You know, you are confronted with “the good guys” from the West not giving you any assurances of supply [of vaccines], and you have 30 million people and are to save lives. You know, it’s easy to sit somewhere else and say: Why are you doing this? But you need to make sure you protect your people. You manage that as well as you can. This is a all a contrived and manufactured crisis, because clearly there’s enough [vaccines] to go around if only there was equity and justice in what we are doing.”

Government’s response

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health in a press release dated Wednesday, June 9, says it will respond to the contents of the publication by close of day.

“The Ministry of Health wishes to inform the public that it will issue a release today in response to the allegations published in the said news story about its processes of procuring the Sputnik V vaccines for the nation.

“It is therefore asking the public to exercise patience. The Ministry will come out with facts about the process,” the statement said.

Source:graphics

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