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Sputnik V vaccines: I empathise with Health Minister, says Ofori-Atta

Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister for Finance says he empathises with the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu on the challenges he [the health minister] had to go through in procuring Sputnik V vaccines for the country.

The finance minister said Agyeman-Manu had no other option than to make sure the vaccines arrive in the country.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Beatrice Adu on The Big Bulletin, Ofori-Atta said “we will always get our money back … I think it’s just so little empathy in appreciating what my colleague minister might have been going through. When you have been sworn in with a mandate to protect the health of people …

“I’m not sure he had no other choice with the way he acted,” adding “Would we get our money back? And we would. It would be my responsibility to get the money back and I would,” he said.

Parliament set up a nine-member bi-partisan Parliamentary Probe Committee to investigate the controversial contract for the supply of Sputnik V vaccines through middlemen.

Appearing before the committee, the Health Minister said Sheik Al Makhtoum and SL Global informed the government on 14 July 2021 that due to the global shortage of vaccines it is unable to honour the contractual agreement.

The Ministry of Health has stated that attempts by the government to secure Sputnik V Vaccines at a unit cost of US$19 is not a rip off as being suggested in some quarters. However, Parliament approved a motion by the minority to investigate the procurement contract.

The explanation follows a Norwegian newspaper (VG) report suggesting that Ghana is buying Sputnik V vaccines from Russia twice the price.

But supporting the actions of the health minister, Ofori-Atta said, “…To be so unsympathetic to somebody who felt like; what can I do to ensure that there’s continuity and to sit now comfortably and kind of just… I don’t seem to empathize, I am empathizing with him and I expect that others will realise the type of pressure that he was under and his commitment to ensuring that the Ghanaian people are safe.

“I got interviewed by a number of European media and I was asking; you dare to ask me about me paying more for vaccine when you are hoarding this vaccine and I have one out of a 100 people and you have 80 and you sit there and ask; why are you doing this? I mean what’s your moral authority.”

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