The Minister for Transport, Mr. Kwaku Asiamah, has disclosed that an amount of $17.3 million was realized between September and December 2020 from COVID-19 testing at the Kotoka International Airport.
Out of this amount, $16.2 million was retained by Frontiers Health Services, while the Ghana Airport Company received $1.1 million.
The Transport Minister made this known on Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Parliament, after the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu requested details about the proceeds from the COVID-19 testing exercise at the Kotoka International Airport.
The Minister also explained that the contract between the Ghana Airport Company (GAC) and Frontiers Health Services stipulated that out of the $150 fee per test, GAC’s share was $10 and Frontier gets to keep $140.
He added that, per the concession agreement, Frontiers Healthcare Services paid $10 to the Airport Company as royalties.
The controversial Covid-19 testing contract at KIA started on September 4, 2020 under a concession agreement between the GAC and Frontiers Healthcare Services.
The measure was taken to limit the importation of the disease into the country through KIA, which is the foremost entry point by air passengers. The strategy was to test and isolate the infected persons for treatment at various treatment centres.
“Per the concession agreement, Ghana Airport Company was supposed to receive $10 per test conducted, and Frontiers Healthcare was to keep the rest as their service charge and the total conduct per test was $150,” the Minister said.
He told Parliament that “between September and December 2020, the total amount realized from the COVID-19 testing at the KIA was $17,590,500. So as per the concession agreement, Frontiers Healthcare Services retained $16,202,200…The Ghana Airport Company Limited on the other hand received $1,167,300 for the same period as royalties accruing from COVID-19 testing.”
According to the Minister, during the period under consideration, a total of 117,187 came through KIA, out of which, 115,730 paid for the testing, while 1,157 passengers consisting of children between the ages of 5-12 were exempted from paying for the testing.
About the Frontiers Healthcare Services contract
Ghana’s procurement law allows for emergency procurement and donations to be undertaken in the event of a natural disaster or epidemic, among other things, subject to the Public Procurement Board’s approval, in accordance with Act 663, Section 40.
The government engaged Frontiers Healthcare Solution Services Limited to conduct the rapid COVID-19 tests following the reopening of the airport to international passenger flights in September 2020.
Non-ECOWAS passengers coming to Ghana by air are required to pay $150 for a 30-minute PCR COVID-19 test administered by Frontiers Healthcare Solution Services Limited.
The Minority wing in Parliament had raised red flags about possible procurement breaches and demanded documents to ascertain if due diligence was done.
The company was at a point said to be operating whilst unlicensed.