Government has revealed the source of the $100 million announced by President Akufo-Addo to boost Ghana’s preparedness and response to the deadly coronavirus.
This comes on the back of Minority’s demand for details of the said allocation as the country braces its self over fears of a possible outbreak of the disease that has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The President, in a public address on March 11, stated that the setting aside of the funds was necessary to step up the county’s preparedness to fight the disease in case of an outbreak.
“At my prompting, the Minister for Finance has made available the cedi equivalent of $100 million to enhance our coronavirus preparedness and response plan,” President Akufo-Addo said.
But the Minority in Parliament on Thursday was not convinced by the move.
According to the Ranking Member on the Health Committee Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, transparency is the only way to ensure proper tracking of the disbursement.
In an interview with a section of the media, Mr Akandoh argued that previous promises to dedicate ¢2.5 million and later ¢35 million did not materialize until the recent announcement by the President.
He also accused the government of paying lip service to the effort to prevent COVID-19 in the country.
But speaking on Joy FM’s Top Story Thursday, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the fund was sourced from the Consolidated Fund and other donors partners committed to the fight against the disease.
“The money is coming from a combination of the central government of Ghana resource allocation from the Consolidated Funds and some donor support from some of our donor partners,” he said.
The World Bank had earlier made available an initial package of up to $12 billion in immediate support to assist countries in coping with the health and economic impacts of the global outbreak.
Confirming Ghana’s receipt of some support from the Bank, Mr Nkrumah could, however, not readily provide details of the exact amount that hit Ghana’s account.
On the fraction secured from the Consolidated Fund and other donor partners, he said “I don’t have that in front of me right now but the lump sum is what I am able to share with you as the President mentioned.
The Minority was also critical about the fact that the fund was not subjected to scrutiny by Parliament before its approval and onwards disbursement.
But according to the Information Minister, it was an already appropriated fund which only required Executive approval.
“If it is an extra appropriation then it will require parliament approval. If it is a virement of an already existent expenditure item, it will not require parliamentary approval.
“That will require Executive approval… As we speak now I do not have a brief that says there is going to be an extra appropriation,” Mr Nkrumah justified.
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