Government spent GHC19billion on Covid- Information Minister clarifies

Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said that the government spent GHC19 billion on the COVID-19 pandemic, contrary to reports of a GHC1.7billion expenditure.

He further clarified that the amount covered two items under the COVID-19 related expenditures.

“The GHC1.7 billion reflects expenditure on only two items under the COVID-19 related expenditure. Paragraph 3 says as at the end of December 2020 Ghana incurred revenue shortfall of GHC11 billion and expenditure increase of GHC14 billion. So if you are looking for the true fiscal impact, it is a combination of these two that will give you the true fiscal impact. The amount of GHC16.8 billion paragraphs 4 referred to under page 12 (b) is only providing information on the sources of financing and the fiscal gap resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, so we encourage you to pay some attention to this one,” he said.

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Mr Oppong Nkrumah said this at a media encounter on Sunday. He was reacting to publications by some media houses as well as a post by Member of Parliament for Yapei Kusawgu, John Jinapor, that per the 2021 budget statement, only GHC1.7 billion of the allocated GHC19 billion for issues of COVID-19 in 2020 was utilised.

The reports also suggested that the rest of the money was used for expenditures unrelated to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Health levy

The Information Minister also noted that the COVID-19 Health Levy is not meant to pay for the free water and electricity given in 2020 to the citizenry.

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“Government has never said that we have to pay for the free water and free electricity of 2020. The COVID-19 levy is not for free water and electricity. For the avoidance of doubt, the Ministry of Finance statement deals with it. But if you also go into the budget… it outlines the full uses of the COVID-19 levy,” he explained.

“If I just may have the opportunity to share with you; it’s on page 58. It is all listed there. It never says anywhere that we have to pay for the free water and electricity of 2020. It outlines what the government has done so far in connection with the COVID-19 programme, and then it goes on to make the point that to provide the requisite resources to sustain the implementation of these measures, the government is proposing the introduction of a COVID-19 health levy of one per cent increase in the National Health Insurance Levy and one per cent point increase in the VAT Flat Rate and for that purpose. We urge you to highlight the correct position as it has been put out by the Ministry of Finance,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah said.


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