Ghana News Agency (Accra) – Parliament has approved roughly GHC11.8 billion as supplementary estimates for the 2020 financial year.
This followed a three-day debate on the estimates presented to the House during the Mid-year Budget Review by the Finance Minister last week.
Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader, praised the government for putting in place proper measures to ensure economic progress over the past three years.
However, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said the Mid-year Budget Review rather looked like a party manifesto, as the Minister for Finance made projections into 2021 to 2023, even though the political fate of the NPP was not yet known in the next December elections.
“Mr Speaker, this Mid-year Budget Review only comes to me as a manifesto pledge and promise and reflected the same COVID programme that the minister stated,” Iddrisu said.
Iddrisu said the Minority expected the Finance Minister to have shifted from economic management to management of an emergency public health problem of COVID-19.
Restatement of expenditures
In concluding his presentation to Parliament, Ofori-Atta listed certain funds approved by Parliament for management of the COVID-19 outbreak.
He said: “Please allow me to restate what the GHC11.8 billion supplementary estimates would be used for, which includes an amount of GHC1.84 billion that Parliament approved in March 2020 for emergency COVID-related expenditures.
“GHC1.34 billion [will be used] for the implementation of the COVID-19 preparedness plan to be implemented by the Ministry of Health – the plan to focus on expanding laboratories to increase the network for functional laboratories for COVID-19 testing for improved database management and co-ordination.”
Ofori-Atta said, “It will also be used to create isolation centres in all regions and districts, revitalising the systems for tracking case confirmation and management, among others. GHC600 million will be used to mobilise the construction for the Agenda 111 district hospitals; GHC1.204 billion for the CAP1 programme, which includes the GHC600 million support for small businesses, relief water during the first three months, [and] support for frontline workers.”
The government had earlier requested Parliament to approve an additional GHC11.9 billion to enable the funding of key initiatives and other expenditure for the rest of the year.
The GHC11.8 billion approved by Parliament brings to GHC109.8 billion the funds the government needs to implement the 2020 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.
Parliament had already approved approximately GHC98 billion to fund the government’s projects for the 2020 fiscal year.