According to Ato Forson, the expenses associated with Covid-19 have been very poorly handled by the Finance Minister.
On June 22, according to him, the Minister omitted to mention cash that Ghana had received from a number of foreign governments and organizations.
Although these amounts were included in the 2021 Mid-Year Budget Review, they were not included in the report the Minister read in front of Parliament, according to the Deputy Speaker.
There has been a colossal oversight by the Minister of Finance in this regard. You’ll be surprised to learn that, according to the Minister of Finance’s mid-year budget review for 2021, they have mobilized 19.3 billion and 6.2 billion. These two total 25 billion cedis if you put them together.
Come explain to us why you’re excluding the German government’s loan from your financial statements. What makes the Korean currency an exception? “Why are you excluding all of these government funds, grants, and subsidies?” he said, as per usual.
He argued that the omission of this money from the Minister’s claims of openness and accountability was very noticeable.
There is a glaring omission from the paper given to us by the Minister: a gift of 65 million won from Korea’s number-one government. In response to COVID-19, Korea provided us with $30 million for a medical equipment supply initiative, but that money is nowhere to be seen. COVID-19, the Korean government’s emergency response program, has yet to arrive in the United States.
A further 40 million euros in German reform funding budget help was provided, but that money is also missing, along with the other 280 million euros. You don’t want us to speak about it, yet according to your own budget statement, all of these funds are missing from what the Minister has accounted for.
Deputy Finance Minister John Kumah responded to Ato Forson’s remarks by stating that part of the COVID-19 money had been utilized to shore up the government’s revenue imbalance.
Although the government raised $25 billion for COVID-19, not all of the money was utilized for COVID-19 spending, he said, resulting in certain funds being excluded.
“Today’s answer was to explain the COVID-19 spending of 19.3 billion dollars.” That was all that had to be done. Covid-19 expenses received just a portion of the funds that were available. And as I’ve explained to you, these funds were required because we had a shortfall in income.
For one thing, we had to give compensation to employees since Ghana was one of the few nations that maintained public sector workers throughout the year, despite lockdown and people not coming to work and all that.
“I’m stating that not all of the 25 billion went towards COVID expenditures because we produced revenues to meet the 25 billion shortfalls,” he remarked.