President Akufo-Addo has denied claims that his administration has misused Covid-19 funds.
He said the economic consequences of the pandemic have been devastating.
Delivering his State of the Nation Address in Parliament on March 8, 2023, he indicated that his administration called for an audit ro be done into the Covid-19 expenditure.
He said “Mr Speaker, it is precisely because the economic fallout from the pandemic is so widespread and long lasting that it is important to show clearly that the COVID funds were not misused. It is critical that we do not lose the confidence of the people that a crisis that they were led to believe we were all in together was abused for personal gain.
Mr Speaker, it was Government that asked for the COVID funds to be audited, and I can assure this House that nothing dishonourable was done with the COVID funds. The responses from the Ministers for Health and Finance, on January 23 and 25, 2023, respectively, have sufficiently laid to rest the queries from the Auditor General’s report, and I believe any objective scrutiny of these statements from the Health and Finance Ministries would justify this conclusion.”
In providing details on the spending he said “We provided five hundred and eighteen million cedis (GH¢518 million) of grants and loans to micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) through the NBSSI, now the Ghana Enterprise Agency, in which three hundred and two thousand, five hundred and fifteen (302,515) enterprises benefitted, of which sixty percent (60%) were women-owned. These were MSMEs that were in distress as a result of the pandemic. For some traders, the receipt of one thousand cedis (GH¢1,000) made the difference between the ruin of the household and survival.
In addition, fifty-eight thousand and forty-one (58,041) health workers were employed to supplement the existing health sector workforce. Subsequently, all of them have been absorbed as permanent workers in the health sector. Frontline health workers were also granted fifty percent (50%) tax relief for the period. Was that something to regret? We should be forever grateful for the work that so many people did to keep all of us safe. All households enjoyed free water supply and huge discounts on electricity bills, because access to water was a necessity to ensure people adhered to hygiene practices, and access to electricity was important as everybody was encouraged to stay at home. It also provided an economic cushion to protect lives and livelihoods at a time of difficulty. Today, the government support for utility bills is being projected by some as a waste or to use that word, so beloved of some commentators, profligate.”