Politics

Maintaining COVID-19 testing for non-ECOWAS members at $150 unconscionable – Ablakwa

The Member of Parliament (MP) for the North-Tongu constituency in the Volta Region, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has described government’s decision to maintain the $150 COVID-19 testing fee for non-ECOWAS members as “unconscionable”.

According to him, this is not the attitude for fighting such a pandemic that requires the involvement of everyone.

President Nana Akufo-Addo on Sunday, January 31, 2021, said testing for COVID-19 for all nationals of ECOWAS have been capped at $50 following the 58th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS held on Saturday, January 23, 2021, via video conferencing.

Nana Akufo-Addo said the cost for other nationals outside the sub-region will however remain at $150.

“At the 58th Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, held virtually, it was agreed that the cost of the COVID-19 test for inbound ECOWAS nationals should be pegged at fifty United States dollars ($50) at the Kotoka International Airport. The cost of the COVID-19 test for non-ECOWAS nationals at the Kotoka International Airport still remains one hundred and fifty ($150) dollars,” President Akufo-Addo said.

But. Mr. Ablakwa wants this decision to be reviewed.

He insisted that Ghana will be worse off if other governments decide to reciprocate.

“Maintaining the cut-throat amount of US$150 for non-ECOWAS nationals is most unconscionable, particularly as Ghanaian nationals are not treated this way in other jurisdictions. What will be our reaction if other Governments reciprocate?”

“This is not the attitude needed to fight a pandemic which requires that all global actors look out for each other and especially when we are appealing to other countries through diplomatic channels to come to our aid with their vaccines. The President’s advisers have let him and all of us down. The profiteering mindset in the midst of a public health emergency of debilitating consequences is an affront.”

He added that the NDC caucus in Parliament will demand an investigation into the $150 charged so far at the Kotoka International Airport.

“Let me reaffirm the resolve of the NDC caucus in Parliament as contained in my Friday statement on the floor that we demand formal investigations into the entire opaque and illegal US$150 Frontiers Healthcare Services saga. We shall not relent.”

He made these comments via a post on his social media handles.

Below is the full post from Mr. Ablakwa
Finally, some progress on the matter of Ghana’s exploitative, retrogressive and punitive Antigen test cost at the airport. As I reiterated in Parliament last Friday, the President should have listened to Ghanaians long ago and not wait for an ECOWAS resolution. Ghana could have been the gold standard for ECOWAS.

Maintaining the cut-throat amount of US$150 for non-ECOWAS nationals is most unconscionable, particularly as Ghanaian nationals are not treated this way in other jurisdictions. What will be our reaction if other Governments reciprocate?

This is not the attitude needed to fight a pandemic which requires that all global actors look out for each other and especially when we are appealing to other countries through diplomatic channels to come to our aid with their vaccines. The President’s advisers have let him and all of us down. The profiteering mindset in the midst of a public health emergency of debilitating consequences is an affront.

Let me reaffirm the resolve of the NDC caucus in Parliament as contained in my Friday statement on the floor that we demand formal investigations into the entire opaque and illegal US$150 Frontiers Healthcare Services saga. We shall not relent.

Please stay safe 😷

Citinewsroom

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