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Parliamentary Affairs Minister Defends Drone Deal   
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Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs has defended the emergency medical drone deal approved by parliament.

  According to him, the people who are opposed to the arrangement were making their argument from a wrong premise.

 Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the Majority Leader, gave the justification at a dialogue with the media organised by Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MOPA) in Accra.

  The forum which attracted media personnel and people from academia was on the theme: “Interrogating Parliament’s contribution to the consolidation of Ghana’s democracy thus far: The perspectives of media”.

  The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs as part of its mission to deepen inclusiveness in a participatory democracy recognised the importance of media in the democratization process, especially in providing a vital link between citizens and the state.

  The Ministry is engaging the media to help interrogate the performance of Ghana’s Parliament, since 1993 with the view to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the institution for the consolidation of democracy.

 Parliament recently approved an agreement between the government and Zipline Ghana Limited for drones to be used to deliver emergency health products.

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) introduced the deal to help deliver blood and essential medicines across the country, especially to rural communities.

The GHS described the deal as extremely useful and called on all Ghanaians to support the idea.

 Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also explained that government’s reason for the drone deal was predicated on the huge fire that engulf the Central Medical stores at Tema where the nation lost over $200 million worth of medical supplies.

  “We all know what happened, the nation lost over $200 million worth of medical supplies from the Central Medical Stores”

 He said the strategy of government now is to localised and not store medical supplies at one place where people would pilfer and steal, and later burn down the whole the place so that there would no information to track and prosecute them.

  Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also stated that the rationale is to prevent people from stealing medical items meant for the whole country and also a drain on the economy.

  He explained the current drone arrangement with Zipline is for four years after which the government has the option to either terminate or continue with the contract.

  He said he was not only convinced by the committee’s report that there was value for money on the deal but also persuaded.

  Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also gave assurance that Parliament would pass the Right to Information (RTI) Bill before the end of the session on Saturday, December 22, 2018.

  He however stated that if the Bill was not passed before the end of the session, it would definitely be done in the first week of the next session.

  He explained that a significant amount of work has already been done on the Bill and it is left with few clauses to be amended.
Source: GNA

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