Government simply misused the cash meant for the fight against Covid-19, Former President John Dramani Mahama, has said.
Mr Mahama accused the government of imprudent use of the financial resources especially during the election period in 2020, a situation he said has led to the challenges facing the country at the moment.
“The economic problem we are facing stem from imprudent election-related expenditure and reckless decision-making in the management of the economy.
“This also includes the way the windfall from Covid was used. Covid was an adversity but in adversity was opportunity. As a result of Covid multilateral institutions gave us money, we took extra money from the Bank of Ghana and just misused it. That money would have cushioned this crisis that we are going through,” the 2020 Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress said while addressing a forum on the Economy in Accra on Thursday June 30.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has told Parliament that the government was prudent with Covid-19 resources to help protect lives and safeguard jobs.
Mr Ofori-Atta said every penny mobilised was used judiciously to enhance the country’s ability to contain the pandemic.
He also described the pandemic as the biggest shock to have hit the economy so far, hence the decision by the country to deploy all available resources to contain the effects on lives and businesses.
Answering questions on how funds mobilised to support the COVID-19 fight were expended, the minister said it was untrue that the government was running away from accountability. “Mr. Speaker, I believe that this presentation demonstrates Government’s commitment to accountability and transparency. All programmed, mobilised and utilised funds have been duly reported on. As a Government, we continue to operate an open-door policy and welcome any opportunity to engage in the national interest,” he said.
He explained that an amount of GH¢18.19 billion was mobilised in resources while GH¢12.04 billion was spent.
He said the amount spent to contain the spread and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on lives and properties.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the amount was expended between April 2020, when the pandemic struck the country, and May this year.
He also dismissed concerns that there were inconsistencies in the COVID-19 expenditures, stating that whatever was mobilised and spent had been documented and well accounted for.
The minister was answering questions on how much the country mobilised in resources to fight the pandemic and how much was actually spent.
“I wish to dispel the notion that there have been some inconsistencies in government data on COVID-19,” he said, noting that the expenditure captured by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his earlier presentation to the nation was in tandem with records at the ministry.
He thus urged the public to dismiss the rumors on data inconsistencies, as the funds were prudently used to protect lives and mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the economy.