The Chamber for Local Governance (ChaLoG) wants the government to account for the actual amount of money spent on feeding the less privileged during the three-week Coronavirus-induced lockdown in Ghana.
The Chamber argues that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Attah during the presentation of the mid-year budget to Parliament understated the actual expenditure by coming out with GHS 54.3 million.
“Government through the Gender Ministry and NADMO provided 1,827,581 and 917,142 cooked food packs to vulnerable persons within Accra and Kumasi respectively. In collaboration with faith-based organizations, the government also distributed dry food packages to about 470,000 families. 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,” the Finance Minister said.
At a press conference, President of ChaLoG, Dr. Richard Fiadomor called on the Auditor-General’s office, Parliament and other stakeholders to demand strict accountability of public funds used during the period.
“We have taken our time to appreciate the figures that the Fiance Minister himself gave to Parliament. We are also sure that the number that they claim they fed- they didn’t see because, during the time, we were also on the ground. But based on the Finance Minister’s figures, we realised that they were not true to Ghanaians because they spent in excess of GHS16 million which are calling on accountability on that.”
Already, policy think tank, Strategic Thinkers Network-Africa (STRANEK-Africa) has asked the Auditor-General to conduct a special audit into the GH¢54.3 million spent in providing the cooked and uncooked meals.
It, therefore, petitioned the Auditor-General to audit how the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection expended the said amount.
Due to the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in the country, the Government imposed a three-weeks lockdown in a bid to curb the spread of the disease in the country.
This led to a decision to feed the needy and vulnerable groups during the lockdown followed widespread concern over the treatment of some stranded head porters who tried sneaking home to Walewale in the North East Region and were stopped at Ejisu and returned to Accra.
The government then committed to feeding and housing the needy and kayayei in the locked-down areas.
The President, Nana Akufo-Addo said there was the need for the provision of “food packages and hot meals” to poor households to enable them to minimise their vulnerability even though the coronavirus had brought hardship to many Ghanaians.
The Gender Ministry announced free food hotlines to help the vulnerable in secluded places to get in touch with the Ministry to ensure equitable distribution of the food.