Claim: Member of the communication team of the National Democratic Congress, Edudzi Tamakloe, says that Ghana mobilised GHC 33 billion as COVID funds in 2020.
Verdict: False. According to the Auditor-General’s report on COVID-19 expenditure, Ghana mobilised GHC 19.1 billion.
Despite various attempts by the governing New Patriotic Party to explain that Ghana’s economic situation is largely caused by global factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, the opposition National Democratic Congress insists that they have been reckless with public funds.
The opposition party has accused the government of misusing monies mobilised for the fight against the pandemic in the country. They believe Ghana’s economy would have been better if the government had been financially prudent.
A member of the communications team of the NDC, Lawyer Edudzi Tamakloe, in advancing an argument on Accra-based TV3 on Monday, March 20, 2023, said Ghana, in the first year of the pandemic, was able to mobilise GHC 33 billion as COVID-19 funds. According to him, that amount almost equals the $3 billion bailout the government seeks from the IMF.
“Do you know that in 2020, COVID alone gave GHC 33 billion? How much are we asking from the IMF today – US$3 billion? The same amount we got in one year due to COVID and mismanaged the money,” he said on The Big Issue on TV3 New Day.
The show was live-streamed on Facebook, and the claim can be found between minutes 56:45 – 57:00.
In May 2022, the Speaker of Parliament summoned the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to appear before the House to answer questions about the government’s use of COVID-19-related funds.
When the Minister appeared before the House on 22nd June, he quoted GHC 19,300,600,000 as the total amount received from various funding sources in 2020.
“Mr Speaker, to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on businesses and households, ensure that economic activities recover and minimise job losses, the government mobilised GHC 18.19 billion out of the programmed GHC 19.3 billion in 2020 from various funding sources, as shown in Table 1 to support the budget,” the Finance Minister said on the floor of Parliament (7:09 – to 8:05).
At the beginning of this year, the Auditor-General published a report on the government’s expenditure of COVID-19 funds from March 2020 to June 2022.
The report also gave details of the funding sources for the amounts mobilised by the government.
“Records on COVID-19 funds at the Ministry of Finance, Controller and Accountant-General and Ministry of Health indicated that the Ministry of Finance mobilised a total amount of GH¢19,112,318,205.12 in 2020 to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” a letter signed by the Auditor-General, Johnson Asiedu, and addressed to the Speaker of Parliament said. This letter can be found on pages 1 and 2 of the report.
On Page 8 of the COVID-19 expenditure Report, they noted that the amount was sourced from the Contingency Fund, the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union (EU) and the sale of BOG-COVID-19 Bonds.
After the publication of the Auditor-General’s report, the Finance Minister released a statement, with portions of it expressing agreement to the GHC 21.8 billion quoted by the Auditor-General as the total amount mobilised between 2020 and 2022 in the name of COVID-19. The Ministry raised no issue with the monetary breakdown across the year, which presupposes that they agree with the figures.
Relying on data from the Auditor-General’s report on Ghana’s COVID-19 transactions, the country mobilised GHC 19.1 billion in funds, not GHC 33 billion.