General News of Wed, 12 Dec 201812
NDC will review $12.5m Fly Zipline agreement – A.B.A Fuseini
The Minority Spokesperson on Communications, A.B.A Fuseini, has said any future National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration will review the $12.5 million Fly Zipline services agreement in line with the country’s interests.
This is after Parliament passed the Services agreement between Flyzipline and government for the use of drone technology for emergency medical supplies.
But in an interview with Citi News, the Sagnarigu MP said the agreement that has been passed by the House is not in the interest of the country.
“There is no doubt, by the grace of Allah we are coming to power after the 2020 elections. When we are in power, we are going to review [it]. When I say review; we will look at everything that is in tandem with the national interest.
“If it falls short of the national interest, I can tell you the NDC will not uphold anything that is not in the national interest,” Mr. Fusseini stated.
The Minority in Parliament consistently criticised 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 as solely an emergency intervention.
Speaking on Citi TV’s Face to Face, 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.