“I Could Not Think Properly”- Health Minister Justifies Failure To Seek Parliamentary Approval For Vaccine Contract
Ghana’s Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, has justified his failure in seeking Parliamentary approval for a contract with Sheik Maktoum to procure Covid-19 vaccines.
In a response to Parliament’s Committee probing the contract, Mr. Agyemang Manu said the rising infection and death rates prompted him to ignore laid down procedures in signing the contract for procuring the vaccines.
“I was in a desperate and helpless situation with the management of the covid numbers. In February [this year], we had 78 deaths; by March, we had 56 deaths, and these were the numbers that pushed me to act.
Those were not normal times, and I was seriously in a situation that could not make me think properly” said Mr. Agyemang Manu.
The failure of the health minister in seeking Parliamentary approval breaches provisions of Article 181(5) of the 1992 Constitution, which requires all international agreements to have Parliamentary approval.
“If you were the health minister, I think you might have taken certain decisions that in hindsight you may not have done those things. The country was not in normal times. I seriously made that error and on hindsight it wont happen again” said the Minister.
According to him, the environment he found himself in at the time made him desperate and frustrated, making him take such a decision.
The government signed a contract for the purchase of 3.4 million doses of the vaccine after it received an initial 15,000 doses from Sheikh Al Maktoum in March 2021
According to Mr. Agyemang Manu, Sheikh Al Maktoum had brought the initial consignment to demonstrate the availability of the commodity once the deal is done.
However, the suppliers decided to withdraw from the contract after several attempts to get the vaccine from the manufacturers yielded no result.