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Samoa Addo: Committee hearing on COVID-19 expenditure must be public

Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo

Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo

A member of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo has suggested to Parliament to broadcast the sitting of the committee constituted to probe COVID-19 expenditure in Ghana.

The Minority had called for an ad-hoc committee to thoroughly probe the government’s expenditure on how the pandemic was managed after the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta accounted to the house on Wednesday.

Speaking on The Forum – Asaase 99.5 Accra’s news analysis and current affairs show – on Saturday (25 June),  Samoa Addo said: “I hope those hearings will be public.”

“This is a beginning of a new dawn. This is one of the first instances where Parliament is asserting itself to take up its constitutional responsibility.”

“After all, they said they fed 2.5 million people in Accra. So, we will go into the details, it is at the committee level that you will call people to come and testify,” Addo added.

Ofori-Atta: No inconsistencies in government data

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 (22 June 2022), the minister said all programmes, mobilised and utilised funds pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic have been dully reported in line with the government’s commitment to accountability and transparency.

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

However, responding to questions, Ofori-Atta said the government is transparent on its expenditure items and will continue to operate an open-door policy and welcome any opportunity to engage 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 that State of the Nation Address on 30 March 2022, that we had mobilized about GHC17.7 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 GHC18.19 billion to mitigate the effect of the pandemic. Again, when His Excellency the Vice President indicated on 7 April 2022 at the National TESCON Conference that Government had spent GHC8.1 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 GHC18.19 billion expended to mitigate the effect of the pandemic, GHC1,550 million was disbursed under the Support to Households Programme, GHC1,049 million was allocated to health response-supplies equipment and relief for health workers, GHC600 million was released to begin the construction across the country and a further GHC763.92 million has been released to continue the construction of the 111 district hospitals.

He said the government also programmed a total amount of GHC875 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, the government implemented programmes to revitalise the economy and protect jobs. This includes the GHC600 million utilised under Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) by the NBSSI now the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA).

With regards to vaccine procurement, the minister indicated that GHC929.30 million was allocated.

A total amount of GHC775.82 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.

Fred Dzakpata

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