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11 key things Ofori-Atta told Parliament on COVID-19 Expenditure

Source The Ghana Report

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, on Wednesday, 22 June 2022, provided Parliament with the details of COVID-19 expenditure after failing to honour three consecutive meetings.

It will be recalled that Ghana recorded its first two cases on 12 March 2020, and the government has since put in measures to reduce the strain caused by the novel virus.

The government had to support businesses and citizens who were reeling from the devastating impact of the pandemic.

Among the interventions were free water, subsidized electricity, health workers allowance, food, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), GH¢600m support for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, and a GH¢1 billion Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) business support scheme.

In all, the sector minister said an amount of GH¢12.04 billion has been spent between the period of March 2020 and May 2022.

Earlier, on 30 March 2022, President Akufo-Addo, in his State of the Nation Address (SoNA), said a total of Gh¢17.7 billion from the COVID-19 Trust Fund had been spent.

However, the Finance Minister has clarified in his latest address.

He insists all the funds mobilised and utilised in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic have been duly reported in line with the government’s commitment to accountability and transparency.

Here are 11 key things the Finance Minister said on the floor of Parliament:

    • Out of the GH¢18.19 billion expended to mitigate the effect of the pandemic, GH¢1.5 billion was disbursed under the Support to Households Programme, GH¢1 billion was allocated to health response supplies equipment and relief for health workers

 

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

 

    • With regard to 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 government disbursements.

 

    • To fulfill a promise to make health care easily accessible in all districts, the finance minister said an amount of GH¢763.92 million has been released to continue the construction of the 111 district hospitals.

 

    • Also, a total amount of GH¢875 million for security operations, evacuation of Ghanaians stranded abroad and coordination of MMDAs’ sanitation and disinfection exercises. This expenditure was utilised by the Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development, the Interior, Justice and Attorney-General, Defence, National Security and Goil.

 

    • The Ghana Cares Obaatan pa Programme was launched in November 2020 to make strategic investments in the real sector of the economy. The total amount released as at the end of 2021 was GH¢539 million out of the total programmed amount of GH¢1,510 million

 

    • Due to the COVID-19 protocols, the Electoral Commission (EC) and National Identification Authority (NIA) had to increase their registration sites and recruit more personnel to ensure compliance during the registration and voting. An amount of GH¢401 million was transferred to the NIA and EC as additional support to ensure COVID-19 compliant registration and voting.

 

    • In September 2020 while other countries had closed all schools, the government, with the advice of experts, took the bold decision to partially re-open schools to enable final year students to write their final exams under very strict COVID-19 protocols. This was largely successful with minimal infections amongst the students. An amount of GH¢1,119.73 million was allocated for Mass School Reopening in January 2021. This was to ensure that all students and teachers were provided with infection prevention and control items. The total amount utilized was GH¢1,118.69 million.

 

    • In the area of free water and electricity for lifeline consumers, an amount of ¢200m was made available for free water and electricity for lifeline consumers, out of this, GH¢143m was utilized.

 

    • A total amount of GH¢12.1million was utilized for the distribution of the packed hot food in Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Greater Kumasi. This includes the cost of transportation of packed food in some suburbs of Greater Kumasi by NADMO.

 

    • A total of GH¢80 million was programmed to pay 50 per cent of the basic salary as an allowance for frontline workers. All requests have been reconciled and paid.

 

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