Finance Minister has disclosed that government used an amount of GH¢1,118.69 million for the mass reopening of schools in January 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Minister made this revelation on the Floor of Parliament on Wednesday while addressing Members of Parliament on the Covid-19 expenditure.

Ken Ofori-Atta noted that government allocated an amount of GH¢1,119.73 million but only utilised GH¢1,118.69 million.

The decision he said was to “ensure that all students and teachers were provided with infection prevention and control items” in school during the outbreak of the virus.

The Minister also provided details on the amount spent on the free food government provided to a total of 2,744,723 persons during the Covid-19 lockdown in Greater Accra, Kasoa, and Greater Kumasi.

“A total amount of ¢12.1 million was utilised for the distribution of the packed hot food in Accra, Tema, Kasoa, and Greater Kumasi.

“This includes the cost of transportation of packed food in some suburbs of Greater Kumasi by NADMO. The expenditure for the provision of hot meals during the lockdown served about 2,744,723 persons for the period of the lockdown at a unit cost of ¢4.32.”

Meanwhile, an amount of GH¢143 million was spent on the provision of free water and electricity for Ghanaians.

This was out of the budgeted GH¢200 million for the policy to cushion Ghanaians during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.

“In 2021, a total allocation of GH¢200 million was made for the provision of free water and electricity for lifeline consumers, out of which GH¢143 million was utilized.”

The Finance Minister debunked claims that the government has not been transparent with its Covid-19 expenditure.

He said all programmed, mobilised and utilised funds pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic have been dully reported in line with the government’s commitment to accountability and transparency.

“Mr Speaker, at this juncture, I wish to dispel the notion that there have been inconsistencies in government data on Covid-19. During the State of the Nation Address on March 30, 2022, the President intimated that we had mobilised about Gh¢17.7 billion since 2020 to fight the pandemic.

“We have subsequently reconciled the data and I can report that as of the end of May 2022, we have mobilized Gh¢18.19 billion to mitigate the effect of the pandemic.

“Again, when the Vice President indicated on April 7, 2022, at the National TESCON Conference that government had spent Gh¢8.1 billion on Covid-19, it was within the context of expenditures for 2020 as I have already indicated,” the Minister explained.