Government’s inability to procure the Sputnik V vaccines directly from the Russian government has been justified.
According to Chairman of Parliament’s Health Committee, Dr Ayew Afriyie, the producers of Sputnik V vaccines have decided not to deal directly with governments.
Rather, he said the Russian firm has resolved to deal only with private persons.
Dr Afriyie was reacting to a report by a Norwegian newspaper published on June 3, 2021, claiming Ghana was shortchanged in the transaction.
The deal was allegedly ratified by Ghana’s Ministry of Health to acquire 3.4 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccines which is sold on the international market for $10 per dose.
The newspaper Verdens Gang alleged that, two businessmen serving as middlemen sold the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine to Ghana for $19 per dose instead of $10.
Government, through the Ministry of Health, said it has negotiated downward the price of the Sputnik V vaccines in the interest of the state.
But Dr Afriyie on Adom FM’s morning show, Dwaso Nsem Thursday, said concerns raised about inflated price were misplaced.
He said government will definitely pay more if it is dealing with a private person in business for profit.
Dr Afriyie said since Sputnik V vaccine producers do ‘cash and carry’, the government is handicapped in doing such business.
To show its commitment, the Effiduase-Asokore Member of Parliament said government issued the middlemen with Letter of Credit (LC) for the supply of the vaccines.
“As far as the people would want to investigate, they should get the sides of the story, go to the ministry now they can give you, agreement of about four or five companies. The lowest they have, and I wish I could mention the name of the company, is $10 plus the supplier’s commission of $2,” he noted.
The ultimate aim of the government, Dr Afriyie added, is to get enough vaccines to protect citizens against the dreaded coronavirus.
But a fellow with the Centre for Democratic Development, Dr Kwame Sarpong Asiedu, vehemently disagreed.
He said government failed to do due diligence and has been a victim of inflated vaccine price.
“We’ve lost money for 300,000 doses times 19 and should just accept that we went into a bad deal,” Dr Asiedu stressed.