A member of Parliament’s Health Committee, Charles Agbeve, is asking government to provide details on what constitutes the $150 charge for COVID-19 tests for passengers who arrive at the Kotoka International Airport.
He says the fee is on the high side for travellers.
The government, on Monday, disclosed that all passengers coming to Ghana by air are required to pay $150 for COVID-19 testing.
The follows the reopening of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) to international passenger traffic after five months of closure.
In an interview with Citi News, the Member of Parliament for Agotime Ziope demanded a review of the fee since the COVID-19 pandemic has affected finances across the world.
“What is the thinking? What went into that? If you can waive the testing and sieve some category of people then there must be reasoning to also waive the amount, quantum, value and cost to certain people also. So if somebody is coming and has one the test over there and it’s negative, and enters into the country but cannot afford that cost, what happens to that person?”
A Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye has however defended the 150-dollar fee, saying it is comparatively reasonable to global charges.
“As a Ministry and a government who are stakeholders in the management of COVID-19, we were very much interested in the cost of the test. We wanted to make sure that the cost of the test will not put an unnecessary burden on the passenger. So we quickly looked at what is being charged across the globe. When you go to a place like Zimbabwe you will pay about $210 for the test. In China, you will pay about $150 for the test. In Togo and Benin, you will pay about 150 euros and in Nigeria, it is 130 dollars but you will have to go to a hotel and lodge till the results are ready. With the turn around time and accuracy of the test assured, we had to decide whether the $150 was enough to cover all the expenses. We finally agreed to peg it at that for now.”
He also explained that the new arrangement was very prudent as compared to the previous arrangement where travellers had to pay for accommodation for two weeks to enable them quarantine for the period while awaiting their results.
The management of the Ghana Airport Company is expecting to receive a total of 1200 passengers within its peak period after reopening.
This raises the question of how the company will deal with the overflow of passengers and accurate and swift COVID-19 testing.
But the Managing Director of Ghana Airport Company Limited, Yaw Kwakwa allaying such fears, noted that 480 tests could be conducted within 15 minutes.
He also assured that his outfit has the capacity for any overflow of passengers.