A member of parliament has challenged the government’s intent to go to the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) for funding to fight the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as he draws the government’s attention to the use of the Contingency Fund allocated in the budget.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta briefing Parliament last week on the nation’s preparedness for the pandemic noted that the government was yet to write to the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a grant.
The minister indicated that the country has no funds available as at now for the emergency preparation in the wake of COVID-19 spreading rapidly with 16 confirmed cases as at press time on Friday, last week. He said, “We have not set aside US$100 million. In fact, we don’t have a US$100 million to set aside, we are now trying to source some money from the IMF and World Bank.”
His statement was a sharp contradictory to what President Nana Akufo Addo told the nation in his second televised address on the government’s preparedness to contain the pandemic. President emphatically stated that US$100 million has been made available to be used as an emergency fund. He said, “at my prompting, the minister for finance has made available cedi equivalent of US$100 million to enhance our Coronavirus preparedness and response plan”.
“Has the Minister of Finance based on Article 177 of the Constitution made provision in the 2020 Budget for Contingency Fund? If the answer is yes, how much is currently the amount in the Contingency Fund?”, James Klutse Avedzi quizzed in a short write-up shared on social media platforms, last week, right after the finance minister appeared before them.
The MP further asked, “Why has the Minister not brought any request to Parliament for approval to use the Contingency Fund to fight the Coronavirus?
“If the answer to the initial question above is NO, why didn’t the Minister comply with article 177 of the Constitution?
“Finally, in the event that the World Bank and the IMF fail to support Ghana with the US$100 million, how is the government of Ghana going to fight the Coronavirus pandemic?
Article 177 (1) of the Constitution of Ghana states: ‘There shall be paid into the Contingency Fund monies voted for the purpose by Parliament; and advances may be made from that Fund which is authorized by the committee responsible for financial measures in Parliament whenever that the committee is satisfied that there has arisen an urgent or unforeseen need for expenditure for which no other provision exists to meet the need.’
Source: Adnan Adams Mohammed