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Audit GH₵18 billion Covid-19 expenditure – Ato Forson to Auditor General

Cassiel Ato Forson Hhgf Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson

Wed, 13 Apr 2022 Source:

A Ranking Member, Finance Committee in Parliament, and former Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson is calling on the Auditor General to run a special probe on Covid-19 expenditure.

He noted that this is important to check the conflicting figures, because according to President Akufo Addo, in his State of the Nation Address, the country spent about GH₵18 billion on Covid-19, while the finance minister also gave a different figure.

“In the recent State of the Nation’s Address by his Excellency the President, he is also quoting a different number of 18 points something billion.”

President Akufo-Addo revealed in his state of the nation address that Ghana spent a total of ¢17.7 billion in battling the Covid-19 pandemic since its emergence in 2020.

This, according to the President, is equivalent to 4.6% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Former Deputy Minister of Finance also indicated that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta when he appeared before Parliament said the total Covid expenditure for 2021 was GH₵17.1 Billion.

“The Minister responsible for Finance has appeared before Parliament and has said to us that they spent GH₵17.1 billion”.

He added that Vice President Bawumia during his speech on the State of the economy indicated that the country spent GHC8.1 billion on Covid -19.

Dr. Ato Forson is of the view that the government does not have a handle on how much it spent for the purposes of managing Covid-19.

“So, in one breath, the Vice President is quoting 8.1, the finance minister is quoting 17.1, the President is also quoting a different figure. So, we are having three numbers being bundled around. Who is telling the people of Ghana the truth”, he questioned?

Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson is suggesting that "the only way we can get to the bottom of this matter is for us to sit as a country and audit that Covid-19 expenditure”.

He stressed that, “we have three different numbers, all of us don’t know how much we spent and no ministry, even the country doesn’t have a handle and it means ministries don’t also have a handle”.

He said, “there is the need to audit these numbers for us as a country to come to an understanding on how much we spent on Covid 19”.

The Ranking Member, Finance Committee in Parliament said the constitution empowers parliament to constitute a committee, and to vet or audit issues.

“The Constitution empowers Parliament, being the people’s representative, to constitute a committee and to vet or audit anything that we think should be done. So parliament can actually perform that function"

He said he once sent a motion to parliament to investigate the COVID-19 expenditure but was dismissed by the First Deputy Speaker.

“I wrote to the Auditor General myself together with Hon Muntaka Mubarak, the Chief Whip of the Minority along with the then Auditor-General to Commission and Audit the Covid-19 expenditure.

"To date, the Audit has not been done. And I can call on the current Auditor General to do what is right. Because we’ve written to you, we’ve asked for a special Audit on Covid-19”.

“I’m saying this because we’ve written to them. It’s been a year plus, so if they had done what they had to do, we wouldn’t have been talking about what I’m talking about. We are building a country for God’s sake. So anytime you get the opportunity to improve on a lot of the people and being given the mandate to do so, you have to do what is right”, he stated.

Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson spoke on the GTV Breakfast show.

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