Ghanaians in the diaspora, especially the United States, have responded to claims by President Akufo-Addo that they are happy with the government’s decision to charge US$150 (Ghc900) for the controversial Covid-19 test that has become a precondition for admittance into the country.
Through their group, “Diaspora Progressive Movement, US Chapter, they have said that the President’s claims are untrue and demanded that the Akufo-Addo government scrap the expensive test fee.
“We were informed that in a nation-wide telecast to the nation, the President said Ghanaians abroad are happy to be paying the $150 fee. We are aware this President has been misled on several issues and we are not surprised that he has been misled on this one too. We are disappointed that this government in particular wants to steal from Ghanaians at any given opportunity. Examples are these $ 150 charges for COVID-19 test and GHC 0.30 charge for Ghanaians to check their names on the voters’ register,” the group lamented in a statement.
The statement was signed by Dr. Lawrence Appiah. It said, charging Ghanaians in the diaspora US$150 as a precondition to returning home even though it is also a requirement that every Ghanaian returning home has a test that proves that in the past 72 hours he has not been positive with Covid-19, amounts to stealing.
Government has justified the charging of a whopping US$150 per arriving person at the Kotoka International Airport, claiming the test is comprehensive. The US$150 fee for the unreliable Antigen test makes country with the third most expensive Covid-19 test in the world, after the UK and Benin.
In response to complaints that this heavy fee may put off some Ghanaians who wish to return home, President Akufo-Addo announced that Ghanaians in the diaspora are cool with the fee.
But the group claim nowhere have they said they agree with the high testing fees. “We are aware that some countries are charging as little as $20 or $30 for the same test and they have offered reasonable reasons why they are even charging. In Ghana, the only reason given is that it is not the government who is charging but some private individuals. As we speak to you, we don’t know who those private individuals are,” the wrote.
The statement said Ghanaians in the diaspora do not want to believe that the inability of the Electoral Commission to implement ROPAL affected the decision to charge a whopping US$150 per arriving passenger to Ghana. “But ROPAL or no ROPAL, we should be given the same treatment as Ghanaians who, one way or the other change the destiny of the country.”
“…we think, this government is not treating her citizens abroad fairly and with respect. Please Mr. President, withdraw the $150 virus test fee at KIA,” read the statement.