Health

COVID-19: Russian company terminates $19 Sputnik V vaccines contract with Ghana gov’t

The Russian company contracted by the Government of Ghana for the supply of some 300,000 doses of Sputnik-V vaccines at $19 per dose has terminated the agreement.

The move follows pressure from government on the company to honour the terms of the contract.

According to Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, the company in a letter dated July 14, 2021 indicated its inability to honour the contractual agreement due to global shortage of vaccines.

Appearing before a nine-member parliamentary ad-hoc committee investigating circumstances leading to the involvement of an agent of the manufacturer in the purchase of the doses, Mr. Agyeman Manu said the company has already supplied 20,000 doses of vaccines so far.

He however stated government will engage the company for payments of the doses supplied from the letters of credit issued to the company earlier.

“We are not just terminating the contract because, after the contract, they told us the first 300,000 doses of the vaccines we ordered would be supplied in two weeks, based on the letters of credit we gave them as part of the terms of the agreement. Our letters of credit were initially delayed, but eventually got to them later. They came back to [tell] us that they had run out of stock and that they were waiting on the manufacturer to supply them, so that they would, in turn, supply us in two weeks,” the Minister told a bi-partisan Parliamentary Probe Committee Thursday.

He added: “After two weeks we went back to them but they aid still they haven’t received the vaccines from the manufacturer. So we started engaging them that if that is the matter, they should permit us to withdraw from the contract so that we can do something different and buy vaccines for ourselves, because our faith in them to supply [the vaccines] was waning.

“So we continuously put pressure on them and they gave us [until] July. They later gave us verbal notice that they will not be able to supply any longer, and so we requested that they terminate the agreement, which they have actually done. So, as we sit here, there is no contract between the two of us.”

Background

Parliament on July 9,2021 approved a private Members’ motion filled by seven minority MPs for a bipartisan probe into the procurement of Sputnik V vaccines from Russia through middlemen at $19 per dose.

Minority whip and Asawase MP Muntaka Mubarak in contributing to the motion moved by his leader Haruna Iddrisu stated that the Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu lied to parliament over the price of the vaccines.

He questioned why Ghana’s FDA has gone ahead to approve the Sputnik V vaccines when the World Health Organisation is yet to do so

Majority leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who supported the motion admonished the NDC MPs not to sing from a different hymn book when the tables turn in future and a similar demand for a probe is made.

Animated Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu stated his willingness to cooperate with the investigations assuring he has nothing to hide.

The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Andrew Asiamah Amoako who was chairing proceedings said the composition and the terms of reference of the committee will be determined on Friday.

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