A research by the Covid Transparency and Accountability Project, C-Tap, on Ghana has shown a possible misuse of Covid-19 funds due to an inefficient reporting system.
The study championed by civic organization, BudgIT Ghana, was to determine how transparent and accountable government has been on the usage of monies intended to tackle the impact of the pandemic.
On March 12, 2020, Ghana recorded its first Covid-19 case and mobilized internal and external funding to directly contain its spread and effects on citizens and the economy.
These included, a World Bank Development Policy Operation of ¢1.716 million ($296,629); IMF Rapid Credit Facility of ¢3.145 million ($543,647); Access to a portion of (an estimated) $591.1 million in the Ghana Heritage Fund.
There was also a syndication facility of ¢3 billion ($518.6 million) to support businesses especially in the pharmaceutical, hospitality, service and manufacturing sectors; $3 billion via Covid-19 Eurobond; and ¢100 billion ($17.2 billion) Covid-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprise Support (CARES)
Fifteen months since Ghana’s first case, C-Tap notes specific information about who was awarded a contract, how much was expended for testing and tracing, and other things outlined in the budget to fight the pandemic have not been accounted for in a form of a report.
Other countries surveyed appear to have gone ahead to provide an audit report, but Ghana is lagging behind.
“There’s been little public participation, because there is little information on the Ghana E-procurement Platform. We had to rather to find out from the public how they received PPE, sanitizers and food packages that were promised by the government through the funds”, Country Lead of BudgIT Ghana, Ray Fiifi Nkum noted in an interview with Joy Business.
He insisted audit processes need to be in place to maintain integrity of the funds
“As we go into a third wave it has become even more important for these accountings to be done”, Mr. Nkum added.
The C-Tap study observed that so far few contracts are published on e-procurement platform. Government’s project delivery tracker has little information on health projects initiated in local communities.
C-Tap recommended an audit report is released specifically on covid-19 funds as soon as possible to promote transparency and accountability.
It said the Ghana E-procurement platform and project delivery tracker has to be updated for conversation among citizens, civil society organizations and lawmakers so the accountability framework agreement in Public Procurement Act to be abided by.