Press Highlights plan by lawmaker to call for probe of Covid-19 testing contract, others

The plan to call for the probe of the COVID-19 testing contract awarded to Frontiers Healthcare Services by the Minority…

The plan to call for the probe of the COVID-19 testing contract awarded to Frontiers Healthcare Services by the Minority in Parliament is one of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Monday.The Times reports that the Minority in Parliament has said it would move a motion to request a parliamentary inquiry into the COVID-19 testing contract, awarded to Frontiers Healthcare Services.

The House is expected to resume sitting in Accra on March 2, after a three-week break intended to stem the spread of COVID-19 among Members of Parliament (MPs) and staff of Parliament.

The Minority’s move follows the claim by the ministers-designate for Health, Foreign Affairs, Attorney-General and Gender, Children and Social Protection that they knew nothing about the contract.

Frontiers Health Services is said to have been awarded the contract weeks before Ghana’s air space was opened to travellers, following its earlier closure as a measure to halt the ‘importation’ of the virus.

Addressing journalists in Parliament on Friday, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, said the secrecy surrounding the contract demanded a probe. 

“Based on the evasiveness, the lack of sincerity, outright refusal by nominees about this contract and the contradiction, and comedy of unreliable referrals that every nominee appears to be giving us, we have decided as a caucus that when the House reconvenes, we are going to move a motion demanding a full-scale inquiry into the Frontiers Healthcare Services contract at the Airport,” he said.

The newspaper says that the Management of Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) in the Western Region has begun rationing water in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis due to the low level of water at the intake points.

“Due to the dry season and its effects on water production and distribution, it has become necessary to ration water in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis until the raw water supply situation improves,” the QWCL said.

Nana Yaw Barima Barnie, Western Regional Communications Manager of GWCL, who made this known in an interview with the GNA, said plans were currently underway to dredge its intake points at Daboase and Bosomase to increase the quantity of raw water flowing to the treatment point.

He said “following this developing incident, the company has provided customers with a rationing schedule based on which water will be distributed to customers”.

According to him, areas to receive water on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays are Effiakuma, Effia, Effiakuma Zongo, Bankyease, Sawmill, Lagos Town, Airport Ridge, Kwesimintsim, Dupaul, Apowa, Assakae, Apremdo, New Amanful, Funko, Adwoa, Kajebril, and East and West Tanokrom.

The Graphic reports that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised Ghana to increase investment in digital economy to maximise its benefits.

It said digital economy had emerged as “one of the winners” of the COVID-19 pandemic and that countries, including Ghana, must be strategic in using the sector to profit more from the pandemic.

In a virtual interaction with economists and students of the University of Ghana, Legon (UG) last Friday, the Chief Economist of the IMF, Dr. Gita Gopinath, mentioned improved digital infrastructure and policies as some of the critical building blocks required to bolster the sector’s job creation potential.

“There is a trend shift and we will see much more of digital economy growing post the pandemic.

“What does this mean? It means that countries will have to invest more in digital infrastructure, including broadband network,” she said during a discussion on growth prospects of the economy.

The discussion centred on the fund’s world economic outlook (WEO) as an assessment of the global economy which was released in January 2021.

The newspaper says that the Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, said with over four decades of immunisation experience, the country had been able to deploy safe and highly efficacious vaccines that had reduced drastically the national infectious disease burden.

At a national public engagement on COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan in Accra Friday, he said the lessons learnt from the over 40 years of vaccination and the accompanying successes were enough to assure Ghanaians of a successful COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Dr. Amponsa-Achiano said the successes of the EPI included the drastic reduction of infectious diseases in the country as well as the elimination of wild polio and neonatal tetanus in the country.

He said vaccines had helped in conquering most childhood immunisable diseases, notable among them neonatal tetanus.

He said vaccines had also helped in eliminating a form of meningitis.

“The success stories of vaccination in the country include no documented death from measles, reduction in rotavirus diarrhoea after a mass vaccination in 2012, reduction in yellow fever, among others.

“This is why we say that we have a robust vaccination structure that can facilitate COVID-19 vaccination,” he said.