Minority Vows to Chase ‘Shady’ Drone Deal: It’s a Rip-Off

Parliament has adopted the US$12 million drone technology service agreement between Government and Fly Zipline Ghana Limited for the delivery of emergency health and blood products to health facilities across the country.
Frantic efforts by the Minority to have the agreement withdrawn for what it described as serious financial issues in the contractual agreement between Government, represented by the Ministry of Health and Fly Zipline Ghana Limited, failed as the majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) marshalled its numbers to make sure the motion is adopted.
Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, Hon. Cassiel Ato Forson, described the adoption as a very sad day for the country and argued Ghana will not get value for money in the form the agreement has been approved.
The Minority, he said, has expressed several concerns with the agreement and first was inability of government to tell Ghanaians the cost of the drones per distribution center and the cost of establishing one center.
The cost of drones per distribution center, he said, has been amended in the agreement and now would cost Ghana per distribution center per month US$88,000.00 if full operation resumes.
He noted that if Fly Zipline decides to operate at 5% pro rata, they will charge Ghana US$11,000.00 if deliveries are available during night hours.
“The $88,000 refers to full operation so if you are to pro rata 5% of that amount, then government should be paying approximately US$4,400 but they are charging Ghana $11,000 and that is for 5%.”
“Per the agreement they are also charging Ghana US$27,000 for operating at night per month and center but if you pro rata from the full operation to 25% of night operation, the cost should rather be US$6,250.00.”
Government, he said, also claimed funding is coming from GNPC and petroleum and mining companies but stressed GNPC is a corporation owned by the state and hence funds accruing to the company are public funds and must be treated as such.
Hon. Ato Forson noted that Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, has been made the anchorman to speak on the matter and yet he, a medical doctor, has no understanding of finance.
He argued that Dr. Nsiah-Asare has no detailed knowledge of the deal because it was prepared in Vice President Mahamadu Bawumia’s office hence he should be the one to speak on the agreement.
“We expect the Vice President to come and speak to the matter because his office worked on this deal and his people are those who came to defend the agreement at the committee level so we expect him to speak on the matter,” he stated.
Hon. Ato Forson lamented that partisanship is killing the country because some members of the majority NPP were against the agreement but were compelled to support it because of partisanship.
He said, “It is a sad day for this republic. Unfortunately they used their numbers to pass the Zipline, which we in the minority opposed.”
“We asked for headcount but clearly they outnumbered us so it has gone through but we won’t stop. We will still pursue this matter because it is a rip-off.”

By Osumanu Al-Hassan/uthmanhass@gmail.com

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