Parliament on has declined to vote for the approval of the controversial 12.5 million-dollar sole-sourced contract that will deliver essential medical supplies in emergency cases using drones.
Government was on November 6 cleared by the Public Procurement Authority to sole-source the contract to a US-based firm for the design, installation and operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones).
Per the contract, the firm, Messrs. Zipline International Inc, will be required to do deliver essential medicines and medical supplies to health facilities across the country at the cost of $12,527,000 over a period of four years.
The report on the contract document was on Monday tabled before Parliament by the Select Committee on Health for a vote question on whether to approve the contract, but the minority raised some red flags causing the House to defer the vote.
First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu who presided over proceedings directed that the report on the document is withdrawn by the Select Committee on Health and revised before the vote can be taken.
Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Kwabena Twum Nuamah in presenting the report on the contract to the House Monday said Ghana stands to benefit from the agreement, saying it will enhance healthcare delivery.
But the minority disagreed and initially threatened to refrain from any decision-making on the matter, describing the cost involved as outrageous.
Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu insisted the House took note of the votes should there be any, so that it will be recorded that the minority never took part in approving the contract.
“We reject this, and we vote against it and for the record we want it recorded those who supported this”, he said.
Ranking member on the committee, Joseph Yieleh Chireh questioned why the government has chosen to sole-source the contract when drone services abound.
“Drone technology is widespread, many people practice it and they use drones for so many things, why in this particular case are we going for sole-sourcing?” he quizzed.
He said the most important question to ask is whether the country already has supplies of anti-snake and anti-rabies, which cannot be delivered.
Health Minister, Kweku Agyemang Manu explained the transaction will have no financial burden on Ghanaians but the minority chief whip, Muntaka Mubarak disagreed with him on that saying, “then he [the Minister] is at the wrong place because this House approves only things that have to do public finance”.
Even though the Health Minister has said there are ongoing value for money processes, ranking member on the Finance committee, Cassiel Ato Forson, interrogated the figures involved.
“And so if you’re to do the mathematics, then it means that the investor is investing one million dollars and the state Ghana is going to pay the investor about seven million dollars per distribution center”, he said
“This translates to a return of 643%, so the investor is making 643% profit, yet the equipment does not belong to us”, he added
By P.D Wedam|3news.com|Ghana