By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Kween County MP, Hon Abdi Fadhil Chemaswet has asked the Ministry of Health to review the high cost of the mandatory Covid-19 PCR test conducted at Entebbe International Airport.
The test costs US$65 which the MP said is a scheme that only benefits private laboratories stationed at the airport’s immediate outskirts to conduct the test.
“The private laboratories at Entebbe Airport are charging US$65 to conduct the test; they are taken to some beach not even at the airport,” he said.
He added: “When I inquired about what happened to the newly arrived Afghan refugees, I was told that all the refugees were tested at the expense of the government.”
Chemaswet asked the government to emulate neighbouring Tanzania, where the testing is at the expense of the government.
He also tasked the government to elaborate how the US$65 was arrived at saying the private entities are profiteering at the expense of travellers and are troubling tourists with the procedure.
Health Minister, Hon Jane Ruth Aceng came to the defense of the arrangement, all countries are conducting the tests and that Uganda’s costs are relatively cheaper.
“Globally, all airports are screening and testing people to prevent the importation of new variants; the tests are a result of a collaboration between the Ministry of Health, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority and the private sector,” she said.
On the high costs, she said, “the cost of US$65…it might be high but compared to other countries, it is cheap.”
MP Chemaswet insisted on knowing the identity and ownership of the private laboratories conducting the test, but without success.
“We would like to interest ourselves in the laboratories, who are they?” he said.
On saved business, supposed to be retrieved from the previous Parliament, Speaker Jacob Oulanyah said the House will consider business from the previous Parliament but will be cautious and not go so far back as to consider business from, say, 2012.
This, Oulanyah said, would be absurd because Members in Committees today are not privy to the conduct of business in previous Parliament, and said the amendment of rules should be accelerated to ensure there is certainty in the conduct of business.