Caretaker Finance Minister, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, reading the 2021 Budget Statement

Government has described as false reports that it spent only GH¢1.7 billion on Covid-19 related expenditure.

According to the government, it spent a total of GH¢19 billion on the pandemic.

This follows a Joy News’ publication claiming government only spent GH¢1.7 billion contrary to the GHS19 billion quoted in the 2021 budget statement and economic policy.

However, a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance in Accra on Friday, March 19, refuted the claims.

The Ministry stated that GH¢1.7 billion quoted by the media house represents expenditures on only two items under the Covid-19 related expenditures.

“The Ministry’s attention has been drawn to media publications claiming that government spent GH¢1.7 billion on the Covid-19 pandemic, even though government says it spent GH¢19 billion. The Ministry hereby informs the general public that these publications are incorrect.”

“The GH¢1.7 billion reflects expenditures on only two items under the Covid-19 related expenditures, namely, Covid-19 Alleviation Programme 1 (CAP1) and Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan 1. Other Covid-19 expenditures were Covid-19 Alleviation Programme 2 (CAP2), Covid-19 Preparedness Plan 2, Provision of Health Infrastructure, Seed Fund for Capitalisation of Development Bank, among others” it said.

The statement said as at end-December 2020, Ghana incurred a revenue shortfall of GH¢11,942.7 million and an expenditure increase of GH¢14,074.2 million in relation to their respective targets in the 2020 Budget passed in Parliament in November 2019.

The Ministry also clarified reports suggesting that the Covid-19 levy will be used in paying for the 2020 Covid-19 free water and electricity expenditure.

It stated that the newly approved levies are not a direct charge for the 2020 freebies and should not be misconstrued.

“The Ministry also notes media reports suggesting that government has announced Covid-19 levy to be utilized in paying for free water and electricity of 2020. Again this is incorrect.”

“The Minister of Information’s comment to the effect that covid-19 expenses include water and electricity ought not to be misconstrued to mean the new taxes of 2021 are a direct charge for those services,” the statement added.