Gov’t welcomes suggestions to probe COVID-19 spending

Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta (L) and Health Minister

The Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has welcomed a call to investigate Covid-19 expenditures in Ghana.

The call was made by Juaboso Member of Parliament, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh while contributing to a debate on the 2022 budget statement in Parliament on Wednesday November 24.

In calling for the probe into the spending, Mr Akandoh also noted that the government had failed to meet its own target of vaccinating the targeted population.

Mr Akandoh said the government had so far managed to inoculate 2.5million people as of October 2021, a figure that is against the target of 17 million people for the same period.

 President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had said during his address at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday September 22 that Ghana was working to reach the target of vaccinating twenty million people by the end of 2021.

“Five million is not a figure to be sneered at, particularly when we consider the situation in many other African countries. We are grateful that our efforts at the management of the pandemic and vaccine distribution have been recognised, and we have received these amounts so far. We are still hoping to vaccinate twenty million of our people by the end of the year,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo continued, “Ghana agrees with the call of the Rome Declaration of Global Health for voluntary licensing and technology transfers to boost vaccine production. The Africa Union is working with WHO, WTO and other global partners to expand its vaccine manufacturing and deployment.”

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But contributing to a debate on the 2022 budget statement in Parliament on Wednesday November 24, Mr Akandoh who is also the Minority spokesperson on Health, said “Mr Speaker, it is a fact that as a country we have failed to vaccinate our people on time to meet the herd immunity.

“Mr Speaker, I say so because the government presented to us a vaccination plan and this document is titled ‘ Covid-19 vaccination deployment and vaccination plan”.

According to this document on page 29 we were supposed to have vaccinated about 1.5million people between April and June 2021. Again, from June to August we were supposed to have vaccinated about 6.3million . Between September to October we should have about 9.5million people . At this time we should have vaccinated not less than 17million people.

“Ironically, if you refer to the 2022 budget we have vaccinated on 2.5million. Per their own marking scheme, 2.5 divided 17 is an obvious fail.”

Reacting to these comments in Parliament, Mr Agyeman Manu who is also lawmaker for Dormaa Central said “Our debt situation is not anything that anybody can write home about but let us look at how some of these monies have been spent.

“Honourable Akandoh is asking for complete investigations into Covid expenditures. Because they are materials and that add up to our debt, we will get investigations into that area.

” When I was rushing to get the vaccines to do vaccination very quickly to meet our Covid target, I was called culpable of not having come to Parliament and I have been lambasted to the extent that now, I don’t have any image in this country, [by] your own colleagues in the chambers. Now you stand up and tell me that our vaccinations have been very slow.”

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By Laud Nartey||Ghana