COVID-19: Why Ablakwa wants cost of quarantine scrapped
The Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has lamented the high cost of quarantine for Ghanaians who are yet to be evacuated back home.
“People are really really in distress. I am seemingly worried that the cost is too high. The cut-throat prices from the hotels are too high. We’re told these are 2-5 star hotels. We’ve seen figures ranging from GHC7,000 to about GHC12,000. How can they afford it,” he quizzed.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, told Parliament on Friday, that government had begun rolling out the second phase of its evacuation programme for Ghanaians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Botchway said the government had arranged chartered flights to bring back Ghanaians home based on a schedule drawn up by the ministry.
The countries captured in the schedule include Nigeria, Mauritania, Ethiopia, China, the United States Of America, the United Kingdom, UAE, among others.
An earlier statement issued by her ministry suggested that it would facilitate their travel of the stranded Ghanaian nationals back home only if they were prepared to cover their expenses.
Another statement issued by Ghana’s High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria also said Ghanaians in Nigeria willing to cover their cost of repatriation, were expected to pay at least $800 for their journey back home.
They will also cough between GHc 7,700 to GHc 9,800 based on the category of the hotel (2-5 star) for their 14-day mandatory quarantine.
But speaking to Accra based Citi FM, the minority spokesperson on foreign affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, believed the decision to allow the stranded Ghanaians to cater for their expenses was extreme.
He argued most of the stranded travellers were sleeping on the streets of their host countries due to lack of funds.
He added, “these are people who are stranded. They’ve even run out of money for hotel bills, and they’re now on the streets, and you want them to pay GHC8,000, GHC9,000?
Mr. Ablakwa further revealed that Parliament had approved some $12.7 million to be used exclusively as the cost of quarantine.
He said the budget approval was done three weeks ago. He, however, questioned the government on the appropriation of the said funds.
The North Tongu MP wants the government to show more empathy. He also wants the Akufo-Addo- led administration to consider using hostel facilities of Universities to house the stranded Ghanaians when they return.