Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has said government provided hot meals to a total of 2,744,723 persons during the Covid-19 lockdown in Greater Accra, Kasoa and Greater Kumasi.

Addressing Parliament on Wednesday, June 22, the Minister said this was done through the support for households initiatives, with a budget allocation of ¢1.718 billion out of which ¢1.550 billion was utilised.

Giving a further breakdown of how the funds were disbursed, Mr Ofori-Atta said “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.”

The Minister also stated that as part of the support to households, the Water and Sanitation Ministry and the Ghana Water Company Limited provided free water for an initial period between April and September, 2020.

Following an executive directive, the free water supply was extended to December, 2020 for all lifeline consumers.

“An amount of ¢556 million was budgeted in 2020 for this programme, out of which ¢456 million was utilised. In 2021, a total allocation of ¢200 million was made for the provision of free water and electricity for lifeline consumers, out of which ¢143 million was utilised.

“Government has also made provision in the budget for free electricity to lifeline consumers and absorbed 50% of all electricity bills for all residential and commercial customers.

“A total cost of ¢1,039 million was utilised for the policy from April to September 2020,” he said.

Transparency

The Finance Minister debunked claims that 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. The President intimated during the State of the Nation Address on March 30, 2022, that we had mobilized about Gh¢17.7 billion since 2020 to fight the pandemic.

“We have subsequently reconciled the data and I can report that as of 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.

He said government also programmed a total amount of GH¢875 million for security operations, evacuation of Ghanaians stranded abroad and coordination of MMDAs’ sanitation and disinfection exercises.

Additionally, he said in line with measures to stabilize the economy after the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, government implemented programmes to revitalize the economy and protect jobs.

This includes the GH¢600 million utilized under Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) by the NBSSI now Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA).