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General News of Friday, 24 July 2020


Economist expresses shock over GH¢54m lockdown food expenditure

Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister

Chartered Economist, Emmanuel Amoah Darkwa, has expressed shock over Government’s fifty-four million Ghana Cedis expenditure on food distributed during the lockdown. According to him, such an occurrence is “disturbing”.

Nonetheless, he has stated Ghanaians must give Government the benefit of the doubt considering the fact that some people may take advantage of contracts to feed others.

In an interview with Kwame Afrifa Mensah on the ‘Epa Hoa Daben’ show, he said, “I found it very disturbing as an economist that we spent fifty-four (54) million Ghana Cedis on food. Does that mean in the three weeks of lockdown we spent fifty-four (54) million Ghana cedis? So how many people were fed under this programme?

It is only auditing that can help us get a clearer picture of how the money was spent. Let me also state that in every crisis, there will be some persons who will take advantage of the situation. So for example in situations such as awarding contracts for providing PPEs or fumigation, if we don’t strictly observe how money is spent, at the end of the day, the money spent will be more because it is an emergency situation”.

He advised the Government to focus on how to save the public purse during the implementation of projects in a crisis.

“I want to advise the management of the economy that any decision we make now, we should have in mind the medium term to long term process of the economy so that the procurements and contracts we are doing this time, will be about saving the public purse”.

In his budget review presentation in parliament yesterday, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta disclosed that the cost of providing cooked food for vulnerable people in lockdown areas in Accra and Kumasi was GH¢54.3 million.

“Mr Speaker, the support to households, in terms of supply of dry food packs and hot cooked meals cost Government GH¢54.3 million to enable them to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. This was in addition to an amount of GH¢50.2 million transferred to the 400,000 most-vulnerable individuals under the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme”, he said.

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