Ranking Member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson says the Finance Minister has woefully failed to account for the Covid-19 funds and expenditure.
According to him, the Minister in his address to Parliament on Wednesday, June 22, failed to include funds Ghana had received from several foreign states and institutions.
He noted that whereas these funds were captured in the 2021 Mid-Year Budget Review, they did not appear in the report the Minister read on the floor of Parliament.
“This Minister of Finance has failed to account for it woefully. It will surprise you to know, I have the mid-year budget review of 2021 before me, in the year 2021 the Minister of Finance said they have mobilized 19.3 billion and 6.2 billion. If you add these two together it’s 25 billion cedis.
“Come and account to us why are you excluding loan from Germany, why are you excluding it from what you accounted for? Why are you excluding Korean money? Why are you excluding all these monies, grant from Korean government, why are you excluding it?” he said.
He stated that the exclusion of these funds was rather conspicuous and defeated the Minister’s claim to transparency and accountability.
“What I have here, number 1 Korean government gave us a grant of 65 million, its missing in the document that the Minister gave to us. Again, Korea gave us 30 million, medical equipment provision project in response to Covid-19, it is missing from here. Korea again gave us another 30 million, Covid-19 emergency response programme, it is missing from here.
“Germany also gave us 40 million Euros, reform financing budget support, 280 million, it’s not here. So all these monies according to your own budget statement is missing in what the Minister has accounted for, and you don’t want us to talk about it,” he said.
Reacting to Ato Forson’s comments, Deputy Finance Minister, John Kumah stated that some of the Covid-19 funds had been used to shore up government’s revenue gap.
According to him, even though the government had managed to raise 25billion for Covid-19, it was not all used for Covid-19 expenditure thus the exclusion of some funds.
“The explanation that was provided today was to account for the 19.3billion that went directly into Covid-19 expenditures. And that was what was done. It’s not all the funding that was applied to covid-19 expenditures. And I’ve told you, because we had revenue gap we needed these monies to shore up the budget.
“And when you talk about budget, it’s not only Covid-19 expenditure, we needed to pay compensation on workers because Ghana was one of the few countries that kept public sector workers throughout the year even though there was lockdown and people were not going to work and all that.
“So yes we understand that we raised revenues to fill the 25billion gap but I’m saying that it’s not all the 25 biillion that went into Covid-expenditures,” he said.