Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has given a breakdown of the Covid-19 expenditure in Parliament on Wednesday, June 22.
In the area of free water and electricity for lifeline consumers, for instance, he told the lawmakers that an amount of “¢200m was made available for free water and electricity for lifeline consumers, out of this, ¢143m utilized.”
He further told the House that “Though our response was bold and decisive and compassionate, it has also been costly. Mr Speaker, you will recall that on 30th March 2020, I made a statement to Parliament that the economic impact of Covid 19 pandemic on the economy of Ghana following the implementation of the coronavirus alleviation programme commenced.
“Furthermore, during the presentation of the 2020 mid year budget fiscal policy, I indicated that the supplementary request included the programme funding of ¢19.3billion from various funding sources to support the budget both directly and indirectly. On the expenditure side, an amount of ¢11. 16billion was programmed for Covid-19 related expenses. The difference of ¢8.14 billion was progarmme to provide for shortfall in revenue.
“In 2021, the budget programme of a total amount of ¢4.6billion for Covid-19 related expenses. It is worth noting that the Ministry of Finance mobilizes the needed financial resources whiles the various Covid-19 interventions and related expense were implemented by the relevant sector ministries and agencies.”
Mr Ofori-Atta appeared in Parliament to answer questions relating to the Covid expenses. The question had been filed by the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu.
The Finance Minister incurred the wrath of the Speaker when he was unable to show up in in the House last week to render the account.
Mr Bagbin earlier said that the House was not going to entertain any business from the Finance Ministry until Mr Ofori-Atta appeared before the House to account for Covid-19 funds.
Mr Bagbin said in the House on Thursday June 16 that a lot of questions have been asked about how the government spent the funds, questions he said require answers from the Finance Minister.
“Yes, last week, for good reasons, [his appearance in parliament] wasn’t possible and usually the Business Committee is given the opportunity to do the allotting. So the Minister for Finance was allotted today to come and answer a number of questions. The Minister is not available today, we are told.
“The Minister spoke to me why he is not available today but before today, I had given a directive and that directive was to the effect that the Minister should appear before this House to account for monies that we approved for him to use to lead the country as a ministry for us to see how we respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“A lot of questions have been raised in respect of that so he should come to account to the good people of how that state resources have been applied by his Ministry to the benefit of the people. I did indicate that until that is done, the motion that requested the approval of this house, for more monies to be given him, that is his ministry, for the purpose of Covid-19 be on the hold until he answers the questions, I think that still holds.
“I will go further to say that until the answer is provided, until he goes through the accountability process, we will not take that motion. With respect to the questions, well, today he has another request before us, that will also be affected, until he comes to respond to the questions and to submit the statement, given explanation, as to how that money has been applied, we will not entertain any business from that ministry, mark my words,” Mr Bagbin said.