The government has explained its purchase of Sputnik V vaccine at a price of US$19 despite global competitive price hovering around US$10.
According to it, although it was presented with an initial price quote of US$ 25 per dose, it was able to negotiate the price downwards to US$19 considering cost build-up to the ex-factory price of US$10.
Cost of land transportation, shipment, insurance, handling and special storage charges, it said, were factored into reaching the final agreement of US$19 for a dose.
"It should be noted that the US$10 price per dose which is being proposed as the correct price is the ex-factory price which is only obtained from government to government arrangement but Ghana was unable to obtain direct supplies from the Russian Government hence the resort to the market," a statement signed by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari, explained.
Investigations by a Norwegian newspaper, VG, had demanded answers from the government for procuring overpriced Sputnik V vaccines through middlemen alleging also, that one of the intermediaries who had negotiated the deal with the MOH was wanted by Norwegian Police for alleged financial crimes.
The newspaper had contended that the numbers put out by the government on the procurement did not add up, but efforts to get response from officials were inconsistent.
In the statement, the Ministry argued that upon failed attempts to procure the vaccines directly from Russian authorities and individuals, since early this year amid global scarcity, it was compelled to respond to an offer from the private office of one Shiek Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the supply of a total quantity of 3.4 million doses of Sputnik V vaccines at the unit cost.
"The unit price was negotiated at a meeting held at the MOH with representative from the MOH and office of Dalmook Al Maktoum who had travelled for the purpose.
After ascertaining the type and nature of the vaccine through the delivery of 15,000 doses, the MOH placed an order for the supply of 300,000 doses of the vaccine at a cost of US$ 700,000. This is yet to be delivered," the statement revealed.
However, the Ministry, said the undertaken with Mr. Al Maktoum allowed for the government to opt out of any obligations if supply conditions were not met.
"The MOH assures all that it will endeavor to secure vaccines for the Ghanaian people despite global shortages and cognisant of price and legal considerations.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the MOH had contracted another supplier, S. L. Global Limited to purchase five million doses of Sputnik V vaccine at US$26 per dose.
The Ghanaian owned company serving as the intermediate was to deliver the vaccines in batches over a period of 150 days.
"The total estimated cost is US$ 130,000 excluding duties and taxes and payment would be due on each invoice three years after delivery.
The MOH intends to place an order for the supply of US$ 1,000 units of the vaccine which should be delivered by the end of March 2021," parts of the letter addressed to the Finance Ministry and sighted by the Ghanaian Times, read.