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We have been transparent with COVID-19 expenditure – Finance Minister

BY: Graphic Online
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta

The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta has debunked claims that the government has not been transparent with its COVID-19 expenditure.

Addressing Parliament on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, the Minister said all programmed, mobilised and utilised funds pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic have been dully reported in line with government’s commitment to accountability and transparency.

His presentation comes on the back of the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs demand for an audit into all COVID-19 related expenses over discrepancies in government’s expenditure data.

However, responding to questions, Mr. Ofori-Atta said government is transparent on its expenditure items and will continue to operate an open-door policy and welcome any opportunity to engage to in the national interest.

“Mr. Speaker, at this juncture, I wish to dispel the notion that there have been inconsistencies in government data on COVID-19. His Excellency the President intimated during the State of the Nation Address on 30th March, 2022, that we had mobilised about Gh¢17.7 billion since 2020 to fight the pandemic.

“We have subsequently reconciled the data and I can report that as of end-May, 2022, we have mobilized GH¢18.19 billion to mitigate the effect of the pandemic. Again, when His Excellency the Vice President indicated on 7th April, 2022 at the National TESCON Conference that Government had spent Gh¢8.1 billion on Covid-19, it was within the context of expenditures for 2020 as I have already indicated,” the Minister said.

The Minister explained that out of the Gh¢18.19 billion expended to mitigate the effect of the pandemic, GH¢1,550 million was disbursed under the Support to Households Programme, GH¢1,049 million was allocated to health response-supplies equipment and relief for health workers, GH¢600 million was released to begin the construction across the country and a further GH¢763.92 million has been released to continue the construction of the 111 district hospitals.

He said government also programmed a total amount of GH¢875 million for security operations, evacuation of Ghanaians stranded abroad and coordination of MMDAs’ sanitation and disinfection exercises.

Additionally, he said in line with measures to stabilise the economy after the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, government implemented programmes to revitalise the economy and protect jobs. This includes the GH¢600 million utilised under Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) by the NBSSI, now the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA).

Regarding vaccine procurement, the Minister indicated that GH¢929.30 million was allocated. A total amount of GH¢775.82 million was released for the purchase of Sputnik V, the Janssen COV SARS 2 Covid Vaccines and the Emergency deployment of vaccines in schools among other key disbursement by government.