The Minority in Parliament has given the government 24 hours to clear all Global Fund consignments from the port.

Hundreds of containers of medical supplies shipped to Ghana have been locked up at the port for over two years because the government was unable to waive taxes on the goods.

After clearing 14 of the containers this year, the government could not clear the remaining 185 containers due to demurrage fees.

Civil Society Organisations on Health have already declared their intention to protest over the delayed clearance on June 25.

Addressing a press conference in Parliament on Wednesday, Ranking Member on the Health Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, said Ghana currently owes $33 million in counterpart funding.

He described "this level of irresponsibility" as "unprecedented, to say the least."

"Even when the Global Fund was shipping these commodities to Ghana, they added something for clearing, and per my calculation, they added not less than $2 million and Ghana government gets back to them and he tells them that look, we have increased our port charges and therefore, the money you have given us is not enough to clear these commodities from the ports. Who does this?

"Even the counterpart funding we are supposed to pay - and this counterpart funding it is not money that must be paid to Global Fund is 'show me evidence of procurement, whatever you need, 15% of the money I'm giving you. So the 15% of the 248 go and buy whatever you need as a country and come and show me the evidence and I'll continue to give you whatever you need. And even with that counterpart funding is a tug of war. As I speak to you now, we are owing in excess of US$33 million," the MP said.

He stated that the government must explain how it spent an amount of GH₵80 million allocated in the NHIS formula to clear part of the debt.

"What shocks me is that in the 2023 National Health Insurance Fund formula, an allocation of not less than GHs80 million was made to that effect... So I don't know, I'm simply confused about this whole matter," he said.

The Minority has given the government 24 hours to clear the goods or face their wrath.

Ghana is likely to face a significant shortage of some essential drugs by the end of June.

This is according to the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), which has indicated that some facilities are already relying on others for important medications.

This comes after the Global Fund issued a final warning to Ghana demanding immediate clearance of tuberculosis (TB) and malaria medications that arrived in the country last October.

According to the fund, despite assurances from the government, a portion of the shipments remain stuck at the port and can expire.

In April, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) announced it had secured the tax waivers to enable it to clear the drugs after months of delay.

However, demurrages and third-party charges are amounting to seven million cedis which must be paid.

Due to this debt, more than 118 containers are stuck at the port.

Samuel Hackman, from the Global Fund Coordinating Mechanism Secretariat, stated that it not only affects the $45 million worth of commodities but also strains Ghana's relationship with the Global Fund.

GMA fears that the effect of this development will begin to bite soon.

Speaking on Newsnite, GMA General Secretary, Dr Richard Selormey explained that “Some places are experiencing a shortage.”

“But because there's a few of them within the system, which the health directorates are beginning to or should I say mop up a few of them in some of the regions where there are a few to send... but within the end of this month, many places are going to begin to experience the shortage of these medications.”

"So it's going to become a nationwide problem by the end of the month. Of course, we need to get the containers out and we don't have to wait for a shortage before we even think about that."

President of the Ghana HIV and AIDS Network, Ernest Amoabeng Ortsin has also highlighted the urgency of this issue.

“It is true that we have run out of stock for TB medications. It is also true that the Global Fund has indicated that it is going to cut ties with us as a country. When it comes to treatment for these two diseases, HIV and TB for example, if you are on medication and you stop, your body develops a resistance. So later on, when you go back to the medication, it doesn’t work. It will mean that you need to be taken unto a second line of medications which are even more expensive.”

“These are medicines that the government of Ghana is not even procuring. They are being given to us for free and yet we simply cannot take them from our port. It is baffling,” he said.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.