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Claims COVID cost 1.7b inaccurate – Gov’t

Government has described as false reports that it spent only GHS1.7 billion on COVID-19 related expenditure.

According to government, it spent a total of GHS19 billion on the pandemic.

It follows a Joy News’ publication claiming the government only spent GHS1.7 billion contrary to the GHS19 billion quoted in the 2021 budget statement and economic policy.

However, a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance in Accra on Friday 19th March 2021 refuted the claims adding that the GHS1.7 billion quoted by the media house represents expenditures on only two items under the Covid-19 related expenditures.

“The Ministry’s attention has been drawn to media publications claiming that government spent GHS1.7 billion on the Covid-19 pandemic, even though government says it spent GHS19 billion. The Ministry hereby informs the general public that these publications are incorrect. The GHS1.7 billion reflects expenditures on only two items under the Covid-19 related expenditures, namely, Covid-19 Alleviation Programme 1 (CAP1) and Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan 1. Other Covid-19 expenditures were Covid-19 Alleviation Programme 2 (CAP2), Covid-19 Preparedness Plan 2, Provision of Health Infrastructure, Seed Fund for Capitalisation of Development Bank, among others” it said.

The statement said as of end-December 2020, Ghana incurred a revenue shortfall of GHS11,942.7 million and an expenditure increase of GHS14,074.2 million in relation to their respective targets in the 2020 Budget passed in Parliament in November 2019.

It also clarified reports suggesting that the Covid-19 levy will be used in paying for the 2020 Covid-19 free water and electricity expenditure stating that the newly approved levy is not a direct charge for the 2020 freebies and should not be misconstrued.

“The Ministry also notes media reports suggesting hat government has announced a Covid-19 levy to be utilized in paying for free water and electricity of 2020. Again this is incorrect. The Minister of Information’s comment to the effect that covid-19 expenses include water and electricity ought not to be misconstrued to mean the new taxes of 2021 are a direct charge for those services,” the statement added.

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