Emmanuel Ohene (right), Deputy Commissioner, Customs Division of GRA, with George Winful (middle), Director, Revenue Policy Division, Ministry of Finance, handing over a box of the medical supplies to Alhaji Hafis Adam (left), Chief Director, Ministry of Health
Emmanuel Ohene (right), Deputy Commissioner, Customs Division of GRA, with George Winful (middle), Director, Revenue Policy Division, Ministry of Finance, handing over a box of the medical supplies to Alhaji Hafis Adam (left), Chief Director, Ministry of Health

After 8 months’ delay. . .Ministry takes delivery of health commodities

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has handed over 14 out of the 182 containers of pharmaceutical products locked up at the Tema Port to the Ministry of Health (MoH).


The life-saving medications, including antimalarial and tuberculosis (TB) drugs, had been locked up at the Tema Port for nearly eight months, hampering the nation's ability to combat pressing health challenges.

The handing over follows the resolution of challenges among the Ministries of Health and Finance, the GRA and other stakeholders relating to the clearance of health commodities at all points of entry.

While all the 182 containers had been cleared to leave the port, the 14 which contained essential Malaria and TB medications, were transported from the port last Friday. The Chief Director of MoH, Alhaji Hafis Adam, said the remaining 168 containers, holding only insecticide treated mosquito nets, would be lifted this week.

The cleared medical supplies are slated for transportation to Ghana Health Service (GHS) warehouses by April 19, this year. Beyond the resolution, a collaborative roadmap has been drawn to ensure that such delays in the clearance of health commodities do not recur.

Addressing stakeholders at a ceremony at the Tema Port Reefer Terminal last Friday to hand over the containers, the Deputy Commissioner of the Customs Division of GRA, Emmanuel Ohene, emphasised the critical role of the released drugs in healthcare.

"These drugs are vital for the survival of our fellow citizens and I am glad that they are now in the hands of those who will put it to very good use," he said. He urged collaborative efforts among ministries and stakeholders to capitalise on new exemption laws to avoid port charges and penalties, thereby expediting the clearance process for essential goods.

The Director of the Revenue Policy Division of the Ministry of Finance, George Winful, said the government had earlier paid GH¢40 million for the medications, but third-party levy led to delay in the release of the containers.

He also acknowledged challenges in understanding exemption arrangements which led to delays. Mr Winful explained that the new exemption arrangement was not known by several health sector stakeholders, which added to the delay in clearing the items.

He said a committee made of representatives from the Ministry of Finance, the GRA, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and the MoH had been formed to address future delays. 


The Chief Director of MoH expressed gratitude to the Minister of Finance, Dr Amin Adam, and all officials who contributed to resolve the national problem. Alhaji Adam also explained that the Global Fund had not suspended further shipment of health commodities to the country.

“We want to state emphatically that the Global Fund has neither suspended nor intend to suspend any shipments of medicines and other commodities to the country”. “On the contrary, the ministry has received from the Global Fund an itinerary for the delivery of medicines and other health commodities expected for the year 2024,” Alhaji Adams said.

He entreated media stakeholders and the general public to verify all health-related information with the ministry to ensure accuracy and credibility before putting out any health communication. “Health is a very critical and sensitive issue that should not be toyed with,” Alhaji Adams stressed. 


The Chief Director later told the Daily Graphic that such collaboration in the past had facilitated the clearance from the port of 253 containers, out of 435 of Global Fund health commodities allocations to the country in 2023, leaving the 182 in question.

He said the 435 containers of health commodities, which arrived in the country in August last year, were worth $45 million and not just the 182 containers. Alhaji Adam said out of the 435 containers, MoH expeditiously cleared 253 from the port through the support of the government, leaving the 182, which clearance delayed due to third-party levies.

He clarified that the supplies were made up of malaria rapid diagnostic test kits (RDTs) and insecticide mosquito treated bed nets, and that there were no anti-retrovirals (ARTs) held up at the port as reported by some stakeholders earlier.

“The MoH initiated a collaboration of extensive engagement with the management of GRA and its Customs Division, led by the Commissioner-General, Julie Essiam, and officials of Ministry of Finance (MoF), Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (CCM-Ghana), and COVID-19 Response Mechanism to expedite clearing of the remaining 182 containers, and forestalling future delays in the clearing of MoH medicines and other commodities,” Alhaji Adam said.


The MoH Chief Director explained that out of the recent engagements, a robust roadmap had been developed which clearly provided the pathway of the immediate next steps and the way forward for collaboration and cooperation between the ministries, GRA and stakeholders.

“Furthermore, we wish to re-assure our stakeholders and the general public that the challenges associated with the clearing of MoH medicines and other commodities from the Tema Port and other points of entry have been conclusively and completely resolved by the government,” the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health stated.

Writer’s email: [email protected].

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