The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has directed the Finance and Health committees of the house to expeditiously probe the utilisation of COVID-19 funds.
It follows what he feels are discrepancies in the receipt and payment of COVID-19 monies as accounted for by the Finance Minister before the house on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
“Mr. Speaker, to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on businesses and households, ensure that economic activities recover and minimize job losses, government mobilised GH¢18.19 billion out of the programmed GH¢19.3 billion in 2020 from various funding sources,” the Minister said.
“Mr. Speaker, for the years 2020 and 2021, the programmed expenditure amounted to GH¢15,763.48 million for the COVID-19-related expenditures out of which the actual utilisation was GH¢12,036.41 million,” he added.
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The Minority proposed the setting up of an ad-hoc committee to thoroughly look into the expenditure of the funds over concerns that the minister’s accounting was not thorough enough and in variance with some figures put across by some government officials.
The Speaker however upheld arguments by the Majority that there were a number of existing parliamentary committees empowered to undertake such an exercise.
“We need to go beyond the Minister and get in touch with the COVID-19 National Trust Fund to be able to unearth [the expenditure], and therefore there is the need for further investigation. With this, I direct that the Committee of Finance, ably supported by the committee on Health, should investigate and inquire into the total receipt [COVID-19 Funds] and how those funds were applied for the betterment of the people of this country.”