The Minority group in Parliament has called for a thorough investigation into the contract between the government and Zipline Ghana, warning that the terms are detrimental to national interests.

The side challenged earlier assertions from the government denying any financial obligation towards Zipline’s operations, which operates delivery drones, which were initially said to be sponsored by various corporations.

“In stark contrast to the government’s previous statements, it has been discovered that there is, in fact, a formal contract with Zipline obligating the state to substantial payments, regardless of the completeness of services provided in any given month,” revealed Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, the Health Committee’s Ranking Member, during a press briefing in Parliament on Wednesday.

The Ranking also stressed a concerning aspect of the contract, noting, “Should there be a delay in payments, the agreement subjects the state to a hefty 20% interest penalty.”

Hon Kwabena Akandoh

The Ranking member pointed out that in 2018 Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, former Health Minister Kweku Agyemang Manu a former Chairman of the Health Committee informed Parliament there would be no financial implication to the government for the services of Zipline.

Mr. Akandoh pointed out the peculiar payment structure detailed in Clause 6.3 of the agreement, which binds the government to a fixed monthly fee, diverging from the per-delivery payment model adopted by several other countries utilizing Zipline’s services.

He said, “While we are not opposed to Zipline’s operations, the necessity to scrutinize the contract and compare delivery volumes becomes apparent, especially considering that countries like Tanzania and Rwanda are billed per delivery,” he added.

He advocated for a revision to ensure the service does not exploit the system by delivering non-essential items merely to inflate delivery numbers.

Ziplones drones

In defense, Dr. Nana Ayew Afriyie, Chairman of the Health Committee, countered by stating the Majority had previously expressed concerns regarding this issue during discussions on the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) disbursement formula for 2024.

“The current agreement with Zipline was directly replicated from Rwanda’s initial contract, which charged based on delivery volume before its amendment last year,” he explained.

He indicated that other nations have seen similar adjustments over recent years.

Dr. Afriyie reassured that steps towards renegotiating the contract to align with modern practices are pending the appointment confirmation of the new Health Minister.

Mr. Akandoh underscored the Minority’s interest in ensuring that contractual agreements with service providers like Zipline are economical and efficient and reflect a global shift towards value-based procurement.

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