The government has asked Auditor-General Daniel Domelevo to “strongly resist” a call on him by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to audit some GHS208.3 million used in providing food and water to more than 400,000 vulnerable Ghanaians under the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) during the three-week lockdown.
The biggest opposition party made the call on Monday, 1 June 2020 at a press conference where the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, said Ghanaians have been subjected to “unprecedented levels of profligacy, waste and corruption” under the Akufo-Addo government in the last three-and-a-half years”.
According to him, the government must be made to account for fund expended during the three-week lockdown.
“The low coverage and haphazard implementation of these interventions during the lockdown period, specifically the distribution of free hot meals and dry food to the vulnerable, as well as the supply of tankers of water to deprived households, give us cause for concern that these funds were not judiciously utilised by the government,” he added.
“Indeed, we have in our possession, an audio recording from Kumasi-based Silva FM, in which market women at Tafo Pankrono have confirmed that eggs meant for the vulnerable under the CAP have been diverted and sold on the market by persons associated with certain government functionaries in the area”, Mr Ato Forson said.
In a response, however, Mr Hadzide said: “I find that call premature and ill-conceived”.
“The NDC should refrain from this penchant of wanting to dictate how statutory institutions should do their business”, he warned, adding: “I don’t really understand why the NDC feels that they can determine to the Auditor-General, how the Auditor-General conducts his business”.
“I think that this positioning of the NDC, if not resisted strongly by the Auditor-General himself, will seek to suggest that the NDC intends to, or has been controlling the Auditor-General and that would be a negative verdict, a very terrible impression on the integrity of the Auditor-General, who, we, also, much respect in this country”, Mr Hadzide noted.
A few days ago, former Deputy Minister of Energy Mr John Jinapor accused the Akufo-Addo-led government of using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to drain the country’s reserves and called on the government to prioritise its expenditure in order to protect the public purse.
This followed the recent announcement by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta that the central bank had decided to grant the government a GHS10 billion support.
Mr Ofori-Atta on Friday, 29 May 2020, in a statement presented to Parliament, confirmed the BoG’s decision to lend GHS10 billion to the government with a 2-year moratorium for 10 years.
The Governor of the central bank had earlier confirmed before the appearance of Mr Ofori-Atta in parliament that the first tranche, totalling GHS5.5 billion at the rate of 14.5 per cent, had been made to the government.
However, the former Deputy Minister has described the action by the central bank as “illegal and a clear violation” of the Bank of Ghana (BOG) Act.
In a write-up, Mr Jinapor noted: “The Akufo-Addo led government has certainly run out of ideas and hiding behind the COVID-19 pandemic to deplete our reserves including the petroleum funds.”
He further called on Parliament to “ensure that the executive arm of government does not engage in reckless management of our financials, as we approach the 2020 elections.”
According to Mr Jinapor, “Rather than engaging in such wasteful and frivolous expenditures, the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia Economic Management Team must prioritise expenditure in order to protect the national purse”.
Current statistics reveal the country’s debt as a percentage of GDP is in excess of 60% with the IMF projecting a Debt-to-GDP of about 67% by the end of 2020.
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