Civic-Tech Non-Governmental Organizations, BudgIT Ghana and Connected Development (CODE), have launched a project to track how funds earmarked for COVID-19 response were allocated and disbursed in Ghana.
In collaboration with SEND Ghana, the Covid-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) will lend insight into government expenditure to mitigate against the impact of the pandemic, while strengthening public awareness and ensuring effective governments’ use of COVID-19 funds.
In tracking the funds, BudgIT will undertake two major research projects to examine the nation’s response to the pandemic, with interest in procurement disclosures and data availability, relief packages to both households and businesses among others.
CTAP seeks to leverage on digital tools to promote public discussion about the covid-19 expenditure with the aim to deepen civic engagement and access to information.
“The unavailability of public data on covid-19 expenditure has raised concerns about the misuse of the intervention funds among a section of the citizens and civil society,” BudgIT’s Country Lead, Ray Fiifi Nkum told a press gathering in Accra.
Since March 2020, when Ghana recorded its first confirmed coronavirus cases, governments, bilateral and multilateral donors, development banks, philanthropic organizations, and the private sector have contributed funds, equipment, and expertise to support the country’s COVID-19 response.
Among other sources, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank disbursed US$1 billion and US$230 million respectively t0 assist the West African nation in tackling the pandemic.
Concerns about the potential for misuse of the covid funds in developing economies, especially when they are dispersed under emergency conditions, have prompted development partners to take steps to improve transparency and accountability.
“The challenges presented by COVID-19 have made transparency more critical than ever. We are working towards data-driven transparency to improve accountability to development partners and citizens,” Gabriel Okeowo, CEO, BudgIT Foundation said
Greater transparency is crucial at the state level for accountability and for public confidence in government, but also at the international level to enable a more coordinated and effective response by development and humanitarian actors.
The Deputy Director for SEND Ghana, Dr. Emmanuel Ayifah on his part said that, many global reports have shown that corruption turn to thrive when nations are faced with a pandemic or an emergency and outbreak of COVID-19 is a fine example.
“We have to be stricter and demand that accountability is top notch. This is good for the reputation of the country as well because all the providers of grants and donor support will know that we are a nation of accountability and we invested the monies well to ensure high returns for the economy” he said.
The COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) is a Pan-African project launched in the wake of COVID-19 to track public expenditure and governments response in African countries, with the aim to deepen transparency and accountability. The project is a collaboration with BudgIT Foundation and Connected Development (CODE), two prominent civic-tech non-governmental organizations spearheading advocacy for openness, transparency and accountability in public finance in Africa.