A Deputy Minister of Finance designate, Mrs Abena Osei-Asare, has given an assurance that the government will account for all COVID-19 expenditure.
He said the government had already accounted for some of the expenditure and would keep doing so to ensure it accounted for every cedi that had been spent.
She gave the assurance when she appeared before the Appointment’s Committee of Parliament last Thursday during her vetting.
“In 2020, Parliament approved about GH¢11.1 billion for us, we have spent GH?8.3¢billion which we have accounted for in the 2021 Budget. In the mid-year budget, you will also see some level of accounting in the money that was approved for us, provided we have spent it.
“We have up to date report on how we have spent the money that has been approved for us,” she assured.
Responding to a question on the decision of the World Bank and the government to audit all COVID-19 expenditure, she said this was not new practice.
“Consistently, every year, the Auditor General audits all ministries, departments and agencies so if for any reason, a special fund has been set up for COVID-19 and you want to audit the fund, I think it is in the right direction that we do that,” she stated.
She said the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for any country to follow the procurement processes in dealing with the pandemic.
Mrs Osei-Asare stressed that Ghana’s economy was doing very well until COVID-19 struck in 2020.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot of things and thus affected the country’s economy.
“Moving forward, with the preliminary assessment that we have done, we know the dynamics will change but it will take some time,” she stated.
On why the government did not strengthen ADB or NIB to serve the purpose of a development bank, she said the National Development Bank was not one of the regular retail banks in the system.
“The government is doing all it can to support NIB and ADB to make sure the purpose for which they were set up is realised but this new bank will act as a bank to give funding to these banks to enable them to carry out their activities at a minimum cost,” she explained.
She said this would help strengthen banks by providing them with access to capital.