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    COVID-19 expenditure: Govt spent GH¢12bn in 2020/2021 – Finance Minister

    The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has said government spent GH¢12.036 billion on the coronavirus pandemic for the years 2020 and 2021.

    Giving the breakdown of the utilisation on the floor of Parliament in Accra yesterday, Mr Ofori-Atta said the programmed expenditure for the years under consideration amounted to GH¢15.763 billion.

    For 2020, Mr Ofori-Atta said GH¢8.122 billion was expended to provide support to households, supply equipment and provide relief to health workers, health infrastructure, security, operations, evacuations, quarantine and coordination, economic relief, stabilisation and revitalisation and COVID-19 complementary releases in 2020.

    “Mr Speaker, a total amount of GH¢4.601 billion was programmed in the 2021 budget for COVID-19 related expenses. At the end of December 2021, total utilisation was GH¢3.914 billion representing 85 per cent utilisation,” he told the plenary.

    Mr Ofori-Atta made these known when he addressed Parliament upon the invitation of the House to render account on the receipt and utilisation of the monies for the purpose of combating the pandemic.

    According to him, government has so far mobilised GH¢18.19 billion from various sources including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Bank of Ghana, the Africa Development Bank and the European Union.

    On support for households, he said GH¢1.550 billion was spent in total, including GH¢12.1 million on distributing packed hot foods and GH¢42.24 million on dry foods for residents in Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Greater Kumasi by the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO).

    Health response supplies, equipment and relief for health workers, Mr Ofori-Atta said amounted to GH¢1.049 billion, GH¢600 million was spent on health infrastructure, GH¢875 million on security operations, evacuations and coordination, and GH¢1.992 billion on economic relief, stabilisation and revitalisation programmes.

    He said GH¢1.501 billion was transferred to statutory funds, GH¢1.267 billion to settle outstanding indebtedness to contractors, and GH¢401 million to the National Identification Authority.

    He told the House that on the reopening of schools, “an amount of GH¢1.119 billion was allocated for mass school reopening in January 2021. This was to ensure that all students and teachers were provided with infection prevention and control items. Total amount utilised was GH¢1.118 billion”.

    To ensure the public was vaccinated against the disease, Mr Ofori-Atta said GH¢301 million was spent on vaccine deployment, as well as GH¢775 million for the purchase of Sputnik V and the Janssen and Janssen vaccines.

    To this end, Mr Ofori-Atta, dispelled notions that government has been inconsistent in accounting for receipts and utilisation of the monies for the purpose of combating the coronavirus pandemic.

    He said President Nana AddoDankwaAkufo-Addo’s declaration during his message on the state of the nation that government has mobilised GH¢17.7 billion since 2020 to fight the pandemic has since been reconciled.

    “We have subsequently reconciled the data and I can report that as of end of May 2022, we have mobilised GH¢18.19 billion to mitigate the effect of the pandemic,” he said adding the Vice President’s April7, 2022 submission at the TESCON Conference that government had spent GH¢8.1 billion on COVID-19, was within the context of expenditure for 2020.

    “Mr Speaker, I believe this presentation demonstrates government’s commitment to accountability and transparency. All programmed, mobilised and utilised funds have been duly reported. As a government, we continue to operate an open-door policy and welcome any opportunity to engage in the national interest,” he stated.

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