5 big government programmes affected by 'no money syndrome'

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Wed, 11 May 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government recently came under fire for borrowing excessively following reports by international bodies that indicated that Ghana is debt distressed and it is likely not to pay back the monies it owes.

Reports indicate that Akufo-Addo’s government has borrowed some GH¢ 380 million which is more than the amount of money borrowed by all other governments Ghana has had put together.

The Ghana Revenue Authority has said that it exceeded its revenue target for 2021. Also even though the government was not able to meet its revenue targets in 2019 and 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country got a lot of money through COVID-19 support programmes by international organizations including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to the tune of US$ 4 billion.

Despite all these resources (the borrowed funds, government revenue and COVID-19 funds) what has now become common is that, a lot of government programmes and statutory funds are in arrears even though they have been budgeted.

GhanaWeb takes a look at the five of these programmes and statutory funds that are in arrears and their implication.

National Health Insurance Scheme

The National Health Insurance School (NHIS) has arrears for several years. According to South Dayi MP, Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor, even though the government collected over GH¢ 4 billion through the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) between 2019 and 2021, it failed to release even half of it to the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), which led to the authority owing a lot of service providers.

The president of the Private Health Facilities Association of Ghana, Samuel Boakye Donkor, has indicated that its members are owed arrears since 2019. He indicated that if the situation persists, health facilities across the country will start offering their services on a “cash and carry” basis.

The NHIA has recently indicated that it had released a total of GH¢ 100 million to service providers but the providers say that this will likely cover just one month of the arrears owed them.

District Assembly Common Fund

The District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) which is meant for the development of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) has also been in arrears since 2020.

According to the Deputy Minority Chief Whip, Ibrahim Ahmed, for the past 3 years, the government has only made payments for the first quarter of 2020. He said the government owns GH¢ 2 billion Ghana Cedi for 2021, GH¢ 2.4 billion for 2021 and the funds due for 2022.

So, this implies that the heads of assemblies had no funds to run their assemblies. Some have indicated that, they have to resort to borrowing in order to be able to run the affairs of their districts.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, in February 2022, indicated that the government needs the Electronic Transfer Levy (E-Levy) to be able to pay the common fund. But it is important to know that the DACF is to be paid from 5 percent of the total revenues collected from MMDAs.

Road Fund

Road contractors in the country are also owned by the government. As of 2019, the Association of Road Contractors Ghana indicated that the government owes contractors more than GH¢ 3.6 billion.

That government indicated that it had acquired a loan facility of GH¢ 2.2 billion to clear part of the debt owed the contractors.

Free Senior High School

The government owes arrears in payment to Senior High School (SHS) for the implementation of the Free SHS programme.

A report by the publisheronline.com indicated that the government owed food suppliers of the Free SHS programme GH¢ 500 million, which led to the suppliers threatening to stop supplying schools with food items.

The government in response said it has released GH¢200 million which the sector minister, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, said is good enough to pay the food suppliers and other services providers of the programme.

Nursing training and Teacher training allowances

Allowances given to trainees of Nursing and Teacher training colleges across the countries have been in arrears for some months. These trainees are given GH¢ 400 monthly out of which GH¢200 is given to the students and GH¢200 is used to feed them.

Because of the inability of the government to pay the allowance, heads of teacher training colleges threaten to stop feeding students which forced the government to release part of the arrears owed the trainees.

Aside from the programme and funds listed above. the Members of Parliament Common Fund, the GETFund and the Capitation grants are all in arrears.

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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