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Ken Ofori-Atta Statement To Parliament On The Covid-19 Expenditure

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Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta

Parliament of Ghana

INTRODUCTION

  1. Mr. Speaker, on 11th March 2020, the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. This moment has marked a defining moment in world history and its impact still reverberates globally.
  2. Mr. Speaker, here in Ghana, we recorded our first two cases on 12th March 2020. H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, immediately put together a taskforce which spearheaded the development of a bold, comprehensive, and decisive strategy to ensure that we are not overwhelmed by the pandemic. In line with this strategy, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy of Ghana was assessed and measures designed to address its immediate impacts.
  3. However, the impact of the pandemic was even more severe than anticipated both globally and domestically. It has upended and exposed the weaknesses in critical structures and systems in education, health, economic life and communities. The pandemic triggered a sharp and heavy disruption in global supply chains as lockdowns and restrictions led to reductions in demand and production levels.
  4. Mr. Speaker, this has required us to undertake major fiscal measures beyond what we programmed prior to the pandemic. To finance the additional expenditure such as support to households, engagement of additional health personnel deployment of security personnel at our borders to enforce the CoVID-19 protocols, as well as the procurement of personal protective equipment, Government has had to adopt major fiscal measures to accommodate the increased expenditure and the shortfalls in revenue. Though our response was bold, decisive, and compassionate, it has also been costly.
  5. Mr. Speaker, you may recall that on 30th March 2020, I made a statement to Parliament on the Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Economy of Ghana, following which the implementation of the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) commenced.
  6. Furthermore, during the presentation of the 2020 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy, I indicated that the supplementary request included a programmed funding of GH¢19.3billion from various funding sources to support the budget both directly and indirectly. On the expenditure side, an amount of GH¢11.16 billion was programmed for COVID -19 related expenses (details attached as appendix 1). The difference of GH¢8.14 billion was programmed to provide for shortfalls in Revenue.
  1. Mr. Speaker, in 2021, the budget programmed a total amount of GH¢4,601 million for COVID-19 related expenses. (Details attached as appendix 2)
  2. It is worth noting that the Ministry of Finance (MoF) mobilized the needed financial resources, whilst the various COVID-19 interventions and related expenses were implemented by the relevant sector ministries and agencies.

PROGRAMMED RESOURCES

  1. Mr. Speaker, to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on businesses and households, ensure that economic activities recover and minimize job losses, Government mobilised GH¢18.19 billion out of the programmed GH¢19.3 billion in 2020 from various funding sources as shown in Table 1 to support the budget.

 

Coronavirus Alleviation Programme

  1. Mr. Speaker, Government programmed funding of One Billion, Two Hundred and Three Million, Seven Hundred and Fifteen Thousand, Eighty-Five Ghana Cedis and Seventy-Seven Pesewas from the Contingency Fund (Gh¢1,203,715,085.77), to finance the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme. This programme focused on achieving five (5) key objectives:
  2. limit and stop the importation of the virus;
  3. contain its spread;

iii. provide adequate care for the sick;

  1. limit the impact of the virus on social and economic life; and
  2. inspire the expansion of our domestic capability and deepen our self-reliance.

S/N Funding Source Programme Supported Amount(GH¢) 1 GOG Contingency Fund Covid-19 Alleviation Programme 1,204,000,0002 World Bank Group Funds – Health Interventions 1,334,000,000o/w GARID CERC (US$65m)377,000,000o/w Fast track Covid-19 Facility (US35m)203,000,000o/w Fast track Covid-19 Additional Facility(US130m)754,000,0003 IMF ($1bn)5,852,950,0004AfDB405,650,0005EU504,000,0006 BOG – COVID-19 Bonds 10,000,000,000 Grand Total 19,300,600,000 Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPRP) 1 & 22020 Budget Support 

Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan

  1. The Ministry of Health also led the preparation and implementation of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan which was financed with funds from the World Bank. An amount of US$230 million was secured from various facilities under the World Bank to support the implementation of the COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPRP). The funding facilities include:
  2. Fast Track COVID-19 Facility (FTCF) – US$35 million – This financing is Ghana’s share of the World Bank’s US$4 billion Fast Track COVID-19 Facility that was announced in March 2020 to enable countries deal with the pandemic; and
  3. GARID CERC – US$65 million – This amount was drawn from the existing World Bank-funded Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development (GARID) Project by activating the Contingency Response Component (CERC) of the Project.

iii. Additional Financing (AF1) of US$130.0 million in November 2020, to strengthen and scale-up the gains of the EPRP.

  1. Mr. Speaker an additional financing (AF2) of US$200.0 million was also secured in 2021, largely for the acquisition and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines to support other sources of financing of the vaccination programme under this Plan. The plan sought to achieve the following:
  2. strengthen coordination of the overall preparedness activities;
  3. strengthen capacity of regions, priority health facilities and points of entry to prevent, rapidly detect, investigate and control any COVID-19 outbreak in Ghana;

iii. strengthen national capacity for laboratory surveillance and diagnosis;

  1. build capacity for early diagnosis, case management, contact tracing and infection prevention and control;
  2. ensure minimum health logistics are in place in prioritised regions, health facilities and points of entry for preparedness and laboratory capacity sustained for timely and quality testing of COVID-19 samples; and
  3. increase public awareness on COVID-19 risk mitigation and response measures.

Budget Support

  1. Mr. Speaker, in addition to all the above sources of funds, other funds were sourced to support the budget. These include the US$1 billion from the International Monetary Fund,Gh¢10 billion from the Bank of Ghana, US$69.3 million from African Development Bank and US$99.7 million from the European Union (EU).
  2. By the grace of Almighty God, through our well-designed plans and the internal and external funds we mobilised, Government provided support to the frontline health workers, protected livelihoods and job losses, demonstrated care to the vulnerable in society and supported small businesses.
  3. Mr. Speaker, it must be noted that the status of utilization of the funds to finance the COVID-19 measures excludes funds of the National COVID-19 Trust Fund and the Ghana Private Sector COVID-19 Fund.

STATUS UPDATE ON COVID 19 EXPENDITURE (2020 AND 2021)

  1. Mr. Speaker, for the years 2020 and 2021, the programmed expenditure amounted to GH¢15,763.48 million for the COVID-19 related expenditures out of which the actual utilisation was Gh¢12,036.41 million.
  2. In 2020, a total amount of GH¢11,162 million (this includes the CAP) was programmed for COVID-19 related expenditure. Out of this amount a total of Gh¢8,122 million was utilised. The amount was utilised to provide support to households; supply Equipment and provide relief to health workers (Health Response); Health Infrastructure; Security Operations, Evacuations, Quarantine and Coordination; Economic Relief; Stabilization and Revitalization; and Covid-19 Complementary Releases.
  3. Mr. Speaker, a total amount of GH¢4,601 million was programmed in the 2021 budget for COVID-19 related expenses. At the end of December 2021, total utilisation was GH¢3,914.40 million representing 85 percent utilization.
  4. Expenditures on COVID-19 falls within the following broad categories:

No. Expenditure Item 2020 Budget Releases/Utilisation 2020 – GH¢ 2021 Budget Releases/Utilisation 2021 –

  1. Mr. Speaker, at this juncture, I wish to dispel the notion that there have been inconsistencies in Government data on COVID-19. His Excellency the President intimated during that State of the Nation Address on 30th March, 2022, that we had mobilised about Gh¢17.7 billion since 2020 to fight the pandemic. We have subsequently reconciled the data and I can report that as of end-May, 2022, we have mobilised Gh¢18.19 billion to mitigate the effect of the pandemic. Again, when His Excellency the Vice President indicated on 7th April, 2022 at the National TESCON Conference that Government had spent Gh¢8.1 billion on Covid-19, it was within the context of expenditures for 2020 as I have already indicated.
  2. Financial Management Framework for COVID-19
  3. Rt. Hon. Speaker, permit me to use this occasion to highlight the financial management and accountability framework for receipt and use of public funds – especially as relates to COVID-19. All public expenditures are incurred from funds approved by Parliament. These expenditures may be drawn from the Consolidated Fund, Contingency Fund or other Statutory Funds earmarked for specific purposes.
  4. At the onset of COVID-19, MoF applied for and obtained the approval of Parliament to lower the Cap on the Stabilization Fund. This enabled the transfer of approximately GHc1.20 billion to the Contingency Fund. Upon approval by Parliament, GH¢1.20 billion was drawn from the Contingency Fund to support Government efforts to mitigate the effect of the pandemic. In the 2020 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review, revisions were made to the 2020 Budget to reflect policy changes as well as Executive decisions made to mitigate the effect of the pandemic.
  5. Mr. Speaker, the 2021 Budget included the necessary provisions to facilitate mitigation of the residual effects of COVID-19 and to facilitate the revitalization of the Ghanaian economy. To ensure transparency and accountability in the use of funds earmarked for COVD-19 mitigation. Existing financial management rules and regulations were used to disburse funds whiles ensuring the necessary timelines required in dealing with a pandemic were met.
  6. All implementing entities (Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembles) that received funds for COVID-19 expenditure were required to keep the relevant documentation for audit purposes.
  7. Mr. Speaker, in line with our financial management rules and regulations, all covered entities keep records and subject themselves to internal audit on a continuous basis as well as external annual audits by the Supreme Audit Institution of Ghana, the Audit Service.
  8. Mr. Speaker, in the 2020 Mid-Year Review and Supplementary Estimates I presented a comprehensive update on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures Government had put in place to contain it. Furthermore in the 2021 Budget Government presented to this august House, the Budget Statement and Economic Policy, including a detailed breakdown and justification for the COVID-19 expenditure including a statement showing the sources of funds and expenditures on COVID-19 and this was duly approved by the House.
  9. Again, in November 2021 when I presented the 2022 Budget, I provided further updates and schedules on COVID-19 expenditure.
  10. Mr. Speaker, I now proceed to provide additional details on the COVID-19 expenditures that I have listed.

Support to Households

  1. Mr. Speaker, total amount programmed for the initiatives under the Support to households in 2020 was GH¢1,718 million, out of which amount utilized was GH¢1,550 million. The details include:

➢ a total amount of GH¢12.1million was utilized for the distribution of the packed hot food in Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Greater Kumasi. This includes the cost of transportation of packed food in some suburbs of Greater Kumasi by NADMO. The expenditure for the provision of Hot Meals during the lockdown served about 2,744,723 persons for the period of the lockdown at a unit cost of GH¢4.32.

➢ a total amount of GH¢42.24 million was expended on distribution of Dry Food packages through Faith Based Organizations in Greater Accra and Kumasi. A total of about 470,000 persons received these food packages.

➢ As part of the support to households, Government through the Ministry of Water and Sanitation and its agency Ghana Water Company Limited provided free water which initially lasted for the period April to September 2020. Following an executive directive, this was extended to December 2020 for lifeline consumers. The distribution was also carried out by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency and other Small Holder Water Supply Organizations (NGOs). An amount of GH¢556 million was budgeted in 2020 for this programme out of which

GH¢456 million was utilised. In 2021, a total allocation of GH¢200 million was made for the provision of free water and electricity for lifeline consumers, out of which GH¢143 million was utilised.

➢ Government also made provision in the Budget for free electricity to lifeline consumers and absorbed 50% of all electricity bills for all residential and commercial customers. A total cost of GH¢1,039 million was utilised for the policy from April to September 2020.

Health Response-Supplies Equipment and Relief for health workers

  1. Mr. Speaker, the total amount programmed for the measures under the health response in 2020 was GH¢1,522 million, out of which an amount of GH¢1,049 million was utilized. The details are as follows:

➢ a total amount of GH¢2 million for busing health workers within Accra, Tema, Kumasi & Kasoa to and from work for the duration of the lockdown by GAPTE (Aayalolo) and Metro Mass Transit (MMT). The whole amount was utilized, with GH¢0.7 million going to GAPTE and GH¢1.3 million going to support the services of the MMT company.

➢ A total of GH¢80 million was programmed to pay 50 percent of the basic salary as allowance for frontline workers. All requests have been reconciled and paid.

➢ Total of GH¢1,440 million was programmed for the provision of PPEs, testing kits and medical equipment as well as to undertake community engagements. Other expenditure includes communication, quarantine, and treatment for COVID-19. An amount of GH¢1,008 million was utilised.

Health Infrastructure

  1. Mr. Speaker, in the wake of the pandemic, Government took a bold decision to provide health infrastructure in the districts and regions that did not have a District or Regional Hospital. In all, 111 District, Regional and Mental Hospitals (Agenda 111) were programmed for construction. A total of GH¢600 million was released to begin the construction across the country in 2020.
  2. In the 2021 budget, an amount of GH¢779.05 million was programmed for the continuation of the Agenda 111 projects. Out of this, an amount of GH¢763.92 million has been released.

Security Operations, Evacuations and Coordination

  1. Mr. Speaker, Government programmed a total amount of GH¢1,200 million for security operations, evacuation of Ghanaians stranded abroad and coordination of MMDAs’ sanitation and disinfection exercises. As at 31st December 2020, an amount of GH¢875 million was utilized. This expenditure was utilised by the Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development, the Interior, Justice and Attorney-General, Defence, National Security and Goil.

Economic Relief, Stabilization and Revitalization

  1. Mr. Speaker, in addition measures to stabilize the economy after the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Government also implemented programmes to revitalize the economy and protect jobs. These include the:
  2. Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) by the NBSSI now the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), which provided soft loans to 302,001 small and medium scale businesses across the country to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic and protect jobs. A total of GH¢600 million was utilised;
  3. The Ghana Cares Obaatan pa Programme was launched in November 2020 to make strategic investments in the real sector of the economy. Total amount released as at end 2021 was GH¢539 million out of the total programmed amount of GH¢1,510 million; and
  4. the establishment of the Development Bank Ghana to address gaps in the Ghanaian credit markets, especially the availability of medium- and long-term finance for the private sector. A total amount of GH¢853 million has been transferred to the Bank as seed money.
  5. Mr. Speaker, other measures include the:
  6. transfer of GH¢1,501 million to the Statutory funds in line with the approved budget to enable them deliver on their mandate. This was occasioned by the non-performance of revenues largely due to the global lockdowns; and
  7. the payment of GH¢1,267 million to contractors to settle outstanding indebtedness to contractors that were programmed to be paid in 2020 with revenues collected as well as ease the financial burden that arose due to the outbreak of the pandemic

 

COVID-19 Complementary Releases

  1. Mr. Speaker, due to the COVID-19 protocols, the Electoral Commission (EC) and National Identification Authority (NIA) had to increase their registration sites and recruit more personnel to ensure compliance during the registration and voting. An amount of GH¢401 million was transferred to the NIA and EC as additional support to ensure COVID-19 compliant registration and voting.

National COVID -19 Response (School Reopening)

  1. Mr. Speaker, in September 2020 while other countries had closed all schools, Government, with the advice of experts, took the bold decision to partially re-open schools to enable final year students write their final exams under very strict COVID-19 protocols. This was largely successful with minimal infections amongst the students. An amount of GH¢1,119.73 million was allocated for Mass School Reopening in January, 2021. This was to ensure that all students and teachers were provided with infection prevention and control items. Total amount utilized was GH¢1,118.69 million.

Procurement of COVID-19 Vaccines

  1. Mr. Speaker, the acceleration of sustained socio-economic recovery through advances in vaccine development required the mobilization of significant resources to enable the deployment of a mass vaccination programme. The urgent need to vaccinate a target of 20 million people to achieve herd immunity and strengthen the health system in Ghana required that Government of Ghana makes a significant allocation for the purchase of vaccines. A total amount of GH¢929.30 million was therefore allocated in the 2021 Budget for the procurement of vaccines. The National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP) estimated an amount of US$51.6 million (GH¢301.86 million) to undertake the vaccination deployment
  2. A total amount of GH¢775.82 million was released for the purchase of Sputnik V, the Janssen COV SARS 2 COVID Vaccines and the Emergency deployment of vaccines in schools. As at 31st March 2022, a total of 5,424,450 vaccines have been supplied and received into the country. Since the commencement of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign on March 2, 2021, 14,268,269 doses of vaccines have been administered as at April 25, 2022.
  3. Mr. Speaker, I believe that this presentation demonstrates Government’s commitment to accountability and transparency. All programmed, mobilized and utilised funds have been duly reported on. As a Government, we continue to operate an open-door policy and welcome any opportunity to engage in the national interest.
  4. Let me reiterate that never before, in the history of the Fourth Republic, has the entire Ghanaian economy and society experienced such severe shock occasioned by a single external event. Indeed, from independence to date, the Ghanaian economy has never faced such a sudden nationwide dramatic reduction in household and corporate economic activity. But, as the President said in one of his addresses to the nation during the coronavirus outbreak, “our survival is in our hands” and it continues to be in our hands.
  5. Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity and God Bless our homeland Ghana.
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