The Minority in Parliament has demanded for the immediate reopening of Ghana’s land borders to ease the economic plight of the citizenry due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minority insists that the continuous closure of the country’s land borders contravenes the protocols and resolutions of ECOWAS.
At a press briefing, led by the Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu, he concurred that although Ghana is still battling the economic ravages that the pandemic has inflicted, the government must take immediate steps to open the land borders to enable the free flow of goods and services.
“I’ll call on President Akufo-Addo supported by his minister for health and minister for the interior to take urgent practical steps for the reopening of Ghana’s land borders to allow for free flow of persons and goods across ECOWAS and the rest of the world.
“…Post-COVID, we’re not out of the woods yet but we want to see a return to normalcy with the movement of goods and services through our borders. And therefore, whatever proactive measures the government needs to take, there can be no justification for the continued closure of Ghana’s land borders.”
He added: “Therefore, as a Minority, our primary concern is to call on the President as Chair of ECOWAS, to do that which is needful to give meaning to the resolutions he so chaired for ECOWAS to pass; to allow and facilitate the free movement of goods and services between us [Ghana], our neighbours and the rest of the world.”
Frontiers healthcare to be accountable
The Minority has also served notice that they will haul frontiers health services before Parliament to demand accountability.
They accused the government of using frontiers healthcare as a money-making mechanism by charging exorbitant prices for COVID-19 tests at the airports.
Making comparisons with other countries, the minority said the $150 per person charge for foreigners and $50 cost for Ghanaians is excessive and therefore, calling for a zero charge for Ghanaian citizens.
“The fleecing and rip off of Ghanaians and international travellers into our country in the name of COVID charges at the Kotoka International Airport by frontiers health services must be reviewed and reviewed in earnest by the government. Nowhere in the world does anybody pay $150 for a COVID-19 test. The Honorable [Samuel] Ablakwa returned from Romania, I [Haruna Iddrisu] was Doha, Qatar and the least you pay [for COVID-19 test] is $50, at most probably highest somewhere is $100.”
“…So, for non-Ghanaians to be compelled to continue to pay $150 in the name of COVID-19 test, which COVID-19 test arrangement procurement is questionable and raises questions of us using COVID-19 as a money-making enterprise instead of a public health epidemic that needs our collective efforts to combat and to deal with, we [Minority] do not think that continuously, persons travelling to Ghana from abroad must be made to pay $150. And even $50 for Ghanaians is high; at best it should be free for Ghanaian citizens,” he added.