The Minister of Finance, Hon Ken Ofori Atta, on Wednesday, June 22, addressed parliament on the spending on COVID-19.
The Minority in Parliament stated that the Akufo-Addo-led government accounts for the expenditure of COVID-19 and its related spending is contradictory.
According to the minority, President Akufo-Addo and the finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, have given different amounts of spending on COVID-19.
Speaking about the address, the Minority Leader, Hon Haruna Iddrisu stated that the contradiction in the figures is quite huge and asked about the missing money.
The parliamentarian stated that either the president or his minister is not being transparent to the citizens of Ghana.
“Mr. Speaker, the Minister at page 4 in his statement accounts for GHS19.3 billion as program support received then Mr. Speaker when you come to expenditure on COVID, he accounts for GHS12 billion, then the President accounts for GHS17.7 billion. So where is the missing money? GHS17.7 billion against GHS12 billion, where is the money?” he quizzed.
Adding to the discussion, the member of parliament for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam who doubled as the former Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Casiel Ato Forson said there should be a thorough investigation into the expenditures presented by the minister and the president.
“We cannot sit here and say the Minister of Finance should be the only one to account for the COVID accounts. The Minister responsible for Finance is only a conduit for releasing the money. But the monies were spent at various MDAs,” he stated.
The president of the Republic stated on March 30 during the State of Nation Address that the country has spent over GHS17billion to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic since the spread started in the nation in March 2020.
The president stated that saving the lives of Ghanaians at the time was his major priority.
“In all, data from the Ministry of Finance tells us that an amount of GH¢17.7 billion (or 4.6% of GDP) has been spent in containing the pandemic since 2020″.
However, addressing Members of Parliament on the COVID-19 expenditure in 2020 and 2021, Wednesday, Ken Ofori-Atta said an amount of Gh¢1,203,715,085.77 from the Contingency fund of Government was used to finance the Covid-19 Alleviation Programme in 2020.
The finance minister rebutted the claims that the government of the day has not been truthful with the expenditure on COVID-19.
“Mr. Speaker, at this juncture, I wish to dispel the notion that there have been inconsistencies in government data on COVID-19. The President intimated during that State of the Nation Address on March 30, 2022, that we had mobilized about Gh¢17.7 billion since 2020 to fight the pandemic”.
The Speaker of Parliament has commissioned the committees of Finance and Health to probe into the spending on COVID-19 to help clear all ‘lingering’ doubts on the matter.