… with focus on disbursement of COVID-19 funds and equipped isolation centres not in use
The office of the Auditor-General has reported that records of COVID-19 funds at the Ministry of Finance, Controller and Accountant-General, and Ministry of Health indicate that the Ministry of Finance mobilised a total amount of GH¢19.1billion in 2020 to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Per the report, an amount of approximately GH¢2billion (GH¢1,978,551,137.46) was mobilised in 2021, and GH¢753million up to June 2022 as part the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme and the implementation of the Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.
Disbursement of COVID-19 funds
In all, a total amount of GH¢21.8billion was mobilised to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana 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 Bank of Ghana COVID-19 bonds for the 2020, 2021 and 2022 fiscal years.
The report indicated that out of GH¢21.8billion mobilised, GH¢11.8billion was spent on COVID-19 activities and the rest on budget support.
It said: “On COVID-19 activities, we noted that GH¢8.7billion was spent in 2020 while GH¢3billion in 2021, and GH¢7.9million last year to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in Ghana.
Equipped isolation centres not in use
The report stated that the schedule 1 of the Financing Agreement of Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Response Project signed between the Republic of Ghana and International Development Association, 2020 (Number 6602-GH) requires the COVID-19 management team to put in place measures in strengthening containment, isolation and treatment, including leasing renting and refurbishing designated facilities and centres to contain and treat infected cases in a timely manner.
According to the report, during a verification and inspection of projects in November 2022, it was observed that three treatment, isolation and holding centres – completed at a total cost of GH¢29million – are not put to good use.
They include the remodelling of the old Dodowa Hospital as treatment and holding centre at Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region, which was funded by World Bank at a cost of GH¢11.5million; construction of COVID-19 isolation and treatment facilities at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in the Greater Accra Region, funded by the World Bank at a cost of GH¢1.2million and; and refurbishment and re-equipping of fevers unit as treatment and holding centres at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, funded by World Bank at GH¢16.5million.
In total, an amount of GH¢29.2billion was spent on the three projects.
The Auditor-General, Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, indicated that if the completed facilities are not put to use as early as possible, they could deteriorate and the investment will go down the drain.
It also recommended that the chief director of the Ministry of Health should ensure that the facilities are put to immediate use.