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Ashaiman MP Threatens To Sue Gov’t Over Zipline Drone Deal   
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Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu
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Member of Parliament for Ashaiman, Ernest Norgbey has threatened legal action over government’s agreement with Fly Zipline to supply medical supplies to a number of areas in the country with drones.

“The Zipline and the drone issue, I will be heading to the law courts because there were breaches of the Public Procurement Act…The Public Procurement Act says that make sure even when you are going for sole sourcing, you publish it to receive comments from people and as we speak now, there has not been publication of the Zipline issue to receive any comment from the public.

“[You need to determine] whether there is a company that can also deliver the particular drones that we are talking about here, so I am heading to the court. Let us also not forget that the contract expired on the 31st of October but we have approved it yesterday and when you look at the document that the Zipline company can choose to withdraw from the agreement at any point in time if they have not approved it as Parliament approved.”

Parliament on Tuesday passed the service agreement between Fly Zipline by a vote of 102-58.

This was after the First Deputy Speaker’s decision to have the agreement approved by a voice vote, was challenged by the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak.

The service agreement has been the subject of a tussle in the House, with the Minority describing it as a misplaced priority while government believes it is a step in the right direction.

The House was forced to defer the approval on two occasions to allow for some regulatory checks to be completed.

Minority opposes deal 

The Minority in Parliament consistently criticized the agreement describing it as a rip-off.

It also said operating the services will cost the state $145,000 dollars monthly at each distribution centre.

Policy think tank, IMANI Africa, also called for a review of the deal and noted that flying blood and other essential medical supplies via drone technology will not do much to bolster the country’s health sector.

The Ghana Medical Association also called on the government to suspend the deal because it does not fit into the country’s existing healthcare policy.

But Deputy Information Minister, Pius Hadzide, dismissed suggestions that operating the drone-delivery system for medical supplies at just four distribution centres for four years would cost the country about $27.8 million.

Mr. Hadzide stated that the highest estimated cost of implementing the programme at each distribution centre is $88, 000, with rebates potentially reducing the amount by $11,000.

Defense from Zipline

Meanwhile, Systems Integration Manager at Fly Zipline, Daniel Marfo, has said the drone technology to be used in supplying blood should be viewed solely as an emergency intervention.

Speaking on Citi TV Mr. Marfo said that feasibility studies by Zipline revealed that health centers in Ghana face various challenges and as a result, he expects the introduction of the drones will help save lives during emergency circumstances.

“When products actually run out, you can actually lose a lot of lives, so we are providing an emergency delivery service. We are not replacing normal delivery” Mr. Marfo noted.
Source: The Publisher

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