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Covid 19: Private labs reject $6 charges for E-government certificate

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Friday, January 28, 2022

VP Hussein Abdelbagi Akol speak to the media in earlier press conference/Photo credit: Courtesy

Managers of some private Laboratories authorized to test Covid-19 have rejected the resumption of collection of the six US dollars as charges for Covid-19 E-government certificate.

This comes after the National Taskforce on Covid-19 introduced a collection of six dollars from all the private laboratories in the country on Covid-19 as for e-government and validation of Covid-19 Certificate.

In December, the public were thrown into confusion as the Office of the Vice President for Service Cluster, the taskforce, and private  Laboratories testing Covid-19 lock horns over the six dollars charges.

In a letter addressed to managers of private labs, the Vice President for Services Cluster and head of Taskforce Hussein Abdelbagi Akol says the taskforce endorsed the resumption of the six dollars charges for Covid-19 E-government certificate.

“The National Taskforce is hereby endorsing the resumption of the six dollars payment by the private labs on Covid-19 with immediate effect to ensure the integrity of the certificates,” VP Abdelbagi said in a statement.

Vice President Abdelbagi says the decision comes after consultations with the telecommunication Authority, E-Government Board and other stakeholders.

According to the Taskforce the $6 is meant for the Electronic Unified Certificate of Covid-19.

The order urged all the international Airlines to integrate with the e-government system in order to address the validation of Covid-19 certificate.

Last year in August, the National Taskforce first introduced the six dollars for Unified Electronic Certificate of Covid-19 but was rejected by all the private laboratories.

The lab owners argued that there was no justification of charging them the six dollars while they pay all the required money.

This rejection prompted the taskforce and health authorities to form a committee to investigate the matter.

However, last month, the national taskforce revoked its decision and formed an investigation committee to follow the complaints from lab owners.

The private laboratories claimed they were charged money which they don’t know about.

Last week, the taskforce again resumed the collection of the six dollars for a unified Covid-19 certificate.

Speaking to Eye Radio this afternoon, Dr. Arkangelo Modesto, the Manager of Nojum Diagnostics PCR Lab rejected the move.

“We are rejecting it and we want it not to come as an order. We want it to come exactly like the other previous communication,” Dr. Arkangelo Modesto told Eye Radio.

“It should come as communications from the national taskforce sitting as a committee and decide on what has been done by the investigating adhoc-committee that was setup to investigate the genesis of the six US dollars.”

Others complained that the six US dollar collection for certificates is very high and suggested it be reduced to only three US dollars.

The owners of private laboratories also demanded accountability in order to know the fate of these funds.

Others claim that there are no financial receipts showing where the money is going.

Kwacijowk John, the manager of PIC Diagnostic Center specialized in Covid-19 says this amount will affect South Sudanese who are seeking Covid-19 certificates.

John is now suggesting that private labs should have their own unified certificate.

“We had some suggestions that as private labs, we suggested we can make one unified system that cannot cost us a lot of money, and our fee cannot reach that amount,” John told Eye Radio.

“When you have a system that is working and is taking in each certificate $6 this is a costly system and affects the citizen, because at the end it is the citizen who will pay the six US dollars.

“Our opinion as private labs is that, the six US dollars is too much. Our citizens cannot afford to add a fee of Covid-19 test certificate.”

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