Most Ghanaians believe the Covid-19 funds mobilized by the government were drained away by corruption, an Afrobarometer survey shows.
The Afrobarometer team in Ghana, led by the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2,369 adult Ghanaians in April 2022.
A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.
As of April 2022, about a quarter (26%) of Ghanaians said a member of their household had lost a job, business, or primary source of income due to the pandemic, while 2% reported that someone in their household had become ill with COVID-19 or tested positive for the virus.
Overall, three-fourths (76%) of Ghanaians said the government had performed “fairly well” or “very well” in managing the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On specific aspects of the pandemic response, smaller majorities expressed satisfaction with the government’s efforts to ensure that health facilities were adequately resourced (61%) and to minimise disruptions to children’s education (59%).
Only half (50%) praised the government’s provision of relief to vulnerable households (Figure 3).
Only two in 10 Ghanaians (20%) reported that their household had received COVID-19 relief assistance from the government, while 80% said they had not.
Only three in 10 citizens (31%) said that COVID-19 relief was distributed “somewhat fairly” or “very fairly,” while two-thirds (67%) said the distribution was unfair.
And more than seven in 10 (72%) believe that “some” (28%) or “a lot” (44%) of the resources intended for the COVID-19 response were lost to corruption.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance has said the 53.8% and 46.2% spent on direct Covid-19 interventions and for general budget support, respectively were consistent with the mandate approved by parliament.
In its report, the A-G said the state spent US$607,419.02 out of US$4,049,460.12 for the purchase of 26 ambulances but the vehicles were never delivered.
Also, it said staff of the Information Ministry were paid an unapproved amount of GH₵151,500 as COVID-19 insurance.
Furthermore, $81 million worth of vaccines were not delivered.
The ministry noted that it will continue to apply its best efforts to enforce and enhance expenditure management and accountability to ensure proper utilisation of tax revenue to the full benefit of citizens using established budgetary and accountability systems in government.
Read the full response below:
RE- AUDIT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF GHANA COVID-19 EXPENDITURE FOR THE PERIOD MARCH 2020 TO JUNE 2022.
The Ministry of Finance takes note of the Auditor General’s report on the government of Ghana’s Covid-19 expenditure for the period March 2020 to June 2022, issued on 30th December 2022.
2. The Ministry wishes to commend the Auditor General on the publication of the Special Audit Report of the Government of Ghana Covid-19 expenditure which was commissioned by the Minister for Finance on 14th July 2022 and the timely release of the Audit report.
3. The Ministry wishes to provide the following background and clarifications to some aspects of the report, with the objective of enhancing public appreciation of the issues raised in the report:
a. The audit report confirms total resources mobilized for the Covid-19 response over the period March 2020 to June 2022 at GH¢21,844,189,185.24.
b. As indicated on page 7, paragraph 18 of the report, the funds mobilized were to address the following two key interventions:
i. finance direct Covid-19 intervention expenditures; and
ii. support the funding gap in the budget which was occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on revenue mobilization.
c. Hence, as reported on page 11, paragraph 31 of the report, the 53.8% and 46.2% spent on direct Covid-19 interventions and for general budget support respectively were consistent with the mandate approved by Parliament.
d. The Ministry of Finance coordinated the mobilization and disbursement of funds for the Covid-19 responses by the Government in accordance with the Public Financial Management Act, to ensure the timely release of funds to save lives, livelihoods, and property.
4. The Ministry welcomes the Auditor General’s report and wishes to assure the public that, steps are being taken to address all issues. The following interventions are currently being pursued by the Ministry:
a. Meetings are being organised to engage with the implementing Agencies to evaluate actions taken to implement the audit recommendations in the audit report.
b. Preparation of an Emergency Expenditure Management Guideline. This guideline will provide the government with administrative protocols in times of emergency such as the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure compliance with relevant PFM regulations whiles providing timely responses.
5. The Ministry of Finance will continue to apply its best efforts to enforce and enhance expenditure management and accountability to ensure proper utilization of tax revenue to the full benefit of citizens using established budgetary and accountability systems in Government.