SEND Ghana, a civil society group, has called on the Government to establish funds for the Covid-19, and Sanitation and Pollution levies to aid tracking and accountability.

The Organisation said the channelling of such levies into the Consolidated Fund made it difficult to track the management and utilisation of the monies accrued.

Speaking to journalists at a forum in Accra to analyse the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government, Mrs Harriet Nuamah Agyemang, Senior Programmes Officer, SEND GHANA, said the establishment of the funds would help to ensure that the monies collected were used for the intended purpose.

In the case of the COVID-19 Levy, she proposed the establishment of the Public Health Emergency or Epidemic Preparedness Fund to boost the country’s preparedness and ability to contain future epidemics.

“Until the Ministry comes to tell us how much we’ve received and used, you cannot track it as you would want.

“We suggest that these levies should have a source where you put them for use so that we spell out exactly what we are going to use the funds for and how we are managing it so that we can call for accountability,” Mrs Agyemang said.

The COVID-19 Health Recovery Levy was implemented in May 2021 to mobilise funds to help defray the costs incurred by the Government in the health sector in fighting the pandemic.

Between May and December 2021, the Levy raked in GHS773.93 million.

The Sanitation and Pollution Levy was introduced in 2021 to help address sanitation issues in the country.

The Levy imposes a 10GP per litre charge on petroleum products. As of May last year, the Levy had accrued more than GHS196.5 million.

Analysing the 2023 Budget, SEND GHANA observed that there had been an increment in the allocation for capital expenditure in some sectors, including health and education.

That, Mrs Agyemang said, meant that there would be a lot of infrastructure projects in the coming year.

She also welcomed the increment in the grant for the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme, but called for clarity on the nature of the increment.

“On LEAP, we want the Government to come clear on whether they are increasing to 90 Cedis bi-monthly or monthly,” she said.

Mrs Agyemang appealed to the Government to relook at the capping of some levies, including GETFUND so that enough funds would be made available for beneficiary sectors to execute their work.

“The people of Ghana are not just interested in allocations. We need executions to go up so that when we allocate and Parliament approves, the Ministry of Finance should do well to release the funds for its intended purposes,” she said.

Mr Kwesi Asante, a Social Policy Specialist, who represented the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) at the event, urged development organisations to work together in the wake of dwindling donor support to contribute more to the development of the country.

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