Covid funds: I wasn’t expecting Ofori-Atta to give all the details in Parliament; there was no time – Economist

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta
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An Economist, Dr Adu Owusu Sarkodie has said the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta was not expected to give all the details of how the Covid funds were utilised in Parliament when he appeared to account for the expenditures.

He said there was no time for that to happen.

Dr Sarkodie explained on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday June 25 that the Ministry of Finance and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) can later, upload all the details on their websites where the general public can access the documents.

“I was not expecting the Finance Minister to give all the details on the floor, We didn’t have time for that,” he said.

He added “The MMDAs can put all the details on the website.”

Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, while giving the accounts, told Parliament among other things that his ministry mobilised revenue to be spent on tackling the coronavirus pandemic whiles the various Covid-19 interventions and related expenses were implemented by the relevant sector ministries and agencies.

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.”

Commenting on his submissions Member of Parliament Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam said the Finance Minister cannot be the only one accounting for the funds.

He called on the Speaker to form an ad hoc committee to probe the spending at the district levels.

“We cannot sit here and say that the Minister of Finance should be the only one accounting for the Covid amounts. The Minister responsible for Finance is only a conduit of releasing the money but the money we spent at the various at the MDAs, and that is why Mr Speaker, I call on you to set up an ad hoc committee so that we can bring the various heads of the MDAs that spent the money to account for this in detail,” he said on the floor.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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