COVID Blows GH¢11.751bn

Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Health Minister

The Auditor-General (AG), Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, has revealed that a total of GH¢11,750,683,059.11 was expended by the government on COVID-19 between the period of March 2020 and June 2022.

According to him, out of GH¢21,844,189,185.24 mobilised, GH¢11,750,683,059.11 was spent on COVID-19 activities and the rest on budget support.

“On COVID-19 activities, we noted that GH¢8,658,496,124.96 was spent in 2020, GH¢3,084,311,725.45 in 2021 and GH¢7,875,208.70 in 2022 to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Ghana,” the AG indicated in a report on the audit of the Government of Ghana COVID-19 expenditure for the period March 2020 to June 2022 sent to Parliament.

He stated that some GH¢8,658,496,124.96 was spent on COVID-19 activities out of GH¢10,144,205,379.89 released in the year 2020, while GH¢3,084,311,725.45 was spent in excess of GH¢2,086,706,179.19 for the year 2021, and GH¢7,875,208.70 spent in excess of GH¢4,560,000.00 for the year 2022.

Contingency Fund

The AG said they noted during the audit that GH¢1,203,792,295.77 was deposited into the Contingency Fund on April 8, 2020 and the fund was used to pay for allowances to frontline health workers, supply of food items, free water and electricity, evacuation of Ghanaians, support for small and medium scale businesses affected by COVID-19 pandemic, purchase of various medical supplies to support the fight against COVID-19, cost of mandatory quarantine of Ghanaians stranded abroad and other COVID-19 payments.

World Bank Group Funds

The report said the auditors noted that the World Bank Group in 2020 and 2021 made available a total of US$430,000,000.00 to the government for Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.

“We observed that out of the US$430,000,000.00 made available to the Government of Ghana, a total amount of US$328,568,618.57 (GH¢1,978,483,194.02) was disbursed to the Ministry of Health for various approved health interventions as at June 2022,” and was utilised on medical equipment, cleaning materials, medicines, consultancy, storage facility for the vaccines and deployment, life insurance, construction, leasing and renting of treatment and isolation centres, among others.

IMF Rapid Credit Facility

The report also disclosed that the government received some US$1 million (GH¢5,566,676,161.54) on April 22, 2020 from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support the 2020 budget.

It added that the amount was utilised on liability management, District Assemblies Common Fund’s fourth quarter allocation, NABCO second quarter allocation, LEAP programme first quarter allocation, Free SHS programme allocation for 2nd semester of 2019/2020 academic year, free water and electricity.

Part of the money was also used for the capitalisation of the National Development Bank of Ghana, construction of 88 District Hospitals and seven Regional Hospitals, issuance of Ghana Cards and mop-up exercise across the country among others.

BoG-COVID-19 Bonds

The AG’s report again disclosed that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) in May and September 2020 transferred a total amount of GH¢10,000,000,000 to the Controller and Accountant General as proceeds from the BoG COVID-19 Bonds issued.

“We noted that the receipts were expended on liability management, statutory payments to the Social Security and National Trust (SSNIT), Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND) and other Government of Ghana expenditures as budget support,” the report pointed out.

ADB Fund

The report said on September 28, 2020, the government received US$69,957,855 (GH¢398,745,781.93) from the African Development Bank (ADB) to support the 2020 budget.

“We noted that the amount of GH¢398,745,781.93 was transferred into the Treasury Main Account of the Controller and Accountant General held at the

Bank of Ghana to support the 2020 budget,” the report stated.

European Union Fund

The Government, on 18th November, 2020, received €84,123,579.54 (GH¢569,617,581.78) from the European Union Commission to support the 2020 budget.

“We noted that the amount of GH¢569,617,581.78 was transferred into the Government Main Treasury Cash account and expended on goods & services, capital expenditure and compensation of employees,” the AG’s report said.

By Ernest Kofi Adu