Justification for procuring Sputnik V vaccine through middlemen unacceptable

A fellow at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Kwame Sarpong Asiedu has criticised the government for its decision to procure Sputnik V vaccine through middlemen.

He said the action is not prudent and goes against the World Health Organization’s ideal way of procuring vaccines.

A Norwegian news tabloid, Verdens Gang, reported that Ghana has made a request to purchase 3.4 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine through two businessmen who are selling it to Ghana at $19 per dose instead of the $10 per dose on the international market.

The government has explained that it could not secure the vaccines directly from the manufacturer, hence the need to go through some middlemen, justifying why the cost is higher than the standard price of the Russian vaccine.

Kwame Sarpong Asiedu said the calibre of persons involved in the transaction makes it questionable.

He said the government could have procured the vaccine through a bilateral agreement or with a State actor that has the vaccine.

“The WHO frowns on the use of middlemen because sometimes you don’t know whether they have access to the right stock of vaccine. The question we are asking is that should the State be having deliberations with characters like this in an attempt to protect citizens? The impression is being created that Sputnik V cannot be purchased unless you go through a middleman. Our checks have showed that countries like Turkey have done it and even Guinea has done it. The best option would have been a bilateral agreement either with a State actor that has the vaccines or with the manufacturers or the produce licence holders.”

Pressure is mounting on the government to abrogate the contract with the businessmen, although it insists that the move was necessary and in the best interest of the country.

The Member of Parliament for Juaboso in the Western North Region, who’s also a Ranking Member on Parliament’s Health Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, has indicated his resolve to ensure that the Minister for Health, Kweku Agyemang Manu, is dragged before Parliament’s Health Committee over the procurement.

He said the deal must be investigated thoroughly.

“We are going to invite the Minister to appear before the Committee so that he answers relevant questions because, as for the press release and the things they are saying, it is very difficult to believe,” he told Umaru Sanda Amadu, host of Eyewitness News, on Thursday, June 10, 2021.

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