Why Speaker demanded COVID-19 C’ttee probe report should be available by October

I call on you to set up an ad hoc committee, Minority to Speaker

Probe Ofori-Atta’s Covid fund account, Bagbin to Finance, Health committees

Ken Ofori-Atta presents COVID-19 expenditure breakdown

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has directed the Finance Committee with help from the Health Committee to scrutinize Government’s COVID-19 expenditure as was presented to Parliament by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta.

This comes after the Minority asked the Speaker of Parliament to set up an ad hoc committee to further probe the Covid spending as they raised some concerns with the accountability provided by the Finance Minister in parliament on Wednesday June 22, 2022.

“We cannot sit here and say that the Minister of Finance should be the only one accounting for the Covid amounts. The Minister responsible for Finance is only a conduit of releasing the money…..that is why Mr Speaker, I call on you to set up an ad hoc committee so that we can bring the various heads of the MDAs that spent the money to account for this in detail,” Ranking member of Finance Committee, Ato Forson said on the floor.

Alban Bagbin, after listening to Members from both sides of the House said that the constitution provides for Parliament to look into the use of money withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund.

He then said, “the directive is for the Committee on Finance, supported by the Committee on Health to investigate and inquire further into the application and utilization of all the revenues received, referred to as Covid-19 fund and to report to the House.”

He said the report should be made available by October due to the limited time available before the House goes on recess by the end of next month – July.

“The time lines, because we are going on recess and in view of the agenda of the rest of the meetings, I will want the report to be presented by the first month of our next meeting. The first month of the next meeting will be in October. By the 27th of next month the House will be on recess but the committee will need more than just these few weeks to do the week,” Bagbin said.

Meanwhile, the Government of Ghana has stated that an amount of GH¢143 million was pumped into the provision of free water and electricity for a certain category of consumers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This figure was contained in responses given by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, when he appeared before Parliament on June 22 to answer urgent questions filed by lawmakers on both sides of the House.

With respect to the free utilities announced for lifeline consumers in 2020, Ofori-Atta said the government had saved over a quarter of the total amount budgeted.

“GH¢200m was made available for free water and electricity for lifeline consumers, out of this, ¢143m was utilized,” Ken Ofori-Atta said.

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