The Secretary General of the African Development Bank Group, Professor Vincent Nmehielle has called on government to review the $150 dollars being charged for COVID-19 testing at the Kotoka International Airport.
This adds to calls by other stakeholders who have described the charge as a disincentive for the business community and tourists who wish to travel to Ghana.
Despite comparisons to cheaper tests in other countries and calls for a reduction in Ghana, a Deputy Minister for Health, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye has defended the $150 being charged so far at the Kotoka International Airport, saying even though there are cheaper ones, they are not able to point out those who are active with the virus.
But in response to a question by Citi Business News at the signing ceremony of the memorandum of understanding between the Government of Ghana and the African Development Bank Group for the hosting of the annual meetings of the AfDB group from May 24th to May 28th 2021, Secretary General of the AfDB Group Professor Vincent Nmehielle, said the charge which is exorbitant, is a hindrance to the goal of free movement of goods and people on the continent.
“What more can you say about integration? The AfCFTA Secretariat is in Ghana. A key aspect of integration outside of movement of goods is the movement of people. In fact, that brings me to my encounter at the airport that I have to pay $150 to do a COVID test. It was scary for me. That’s going to hamper a lot of free movement and if you ask me it is exorbitant.”
All passengers coming to Ghana by air are required to pay $150 for a 30-minute PCR COVID-19 test administered by Frontiers Health Care Limited. This began after the Kotoka International Airport was opened to international traffic on September 1, 2020, after being closed in March 2020 because of the pandemic.
So far, out of the more than 30,000 passengers who travelled by flight into Ghana following the reopening of the Kotoka International Airport some ten weeks ago, have undergone COVID-19 testing, with over 90 testing positive.