Sunday, 26 March

#SONA2023: Covid-19 funds were not misused – Akufo-Addo

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has debunked reports that Ghana’s Covid-19 funds were misappropriated.  

According to the President, nothing dishonourable was done with the COVID funds.

His comment comes on the back of a report of special audit into Ghana’s Covid-19 funds.

The report by the Auditor General observed that out of the total amount of GHS21.8 billion that accrued to the Government of Ghana as Covid funds, only GHS11, 750,683,059.11 was spent on COVID-19 activities.

The remaining GHS10, 093,506,126.13, according to the Ministry of Finance was spent on “budget support”.

Mr Akufo-Addo, however, delivering the State of the Nations Address (SoNA) before Parliament on Wednesday, 8 March 2023, said the covid funds were not misused.

He told Parliament, “Mr Speaker, it is precisely because the economic fallout from the pandemic is so widespread and long lasting that it is important to show clearly that the COVID funds were not misused.

“It is critical that we do not lose the confidence of the people that a crisis that they were led to believe we were all in together was abused for personal gain.”

The President disclosed that it was Government that asked for the COVID funds to be audited.

He assured Parliament by confidently saying “nothing dishonourable was done with the COVID funds.”

The President noted that the responses from the Ministers for Health and Finance, on January 23 and 25, 2023, respectively, have sufficiently laid to rest the queries from the Auditor General’s report, and he believes, therefore, that any objective scrutiny of these statements from the Health and Finance Ministries would justify this conclusion.

Touching on some activities the funds were used for, Nana Akufo-Addo said “We provided GH¢518 million of grants and loans to micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) through the NBSSI, now the Ghana Enterprise Agency, in which three hundred and two thousand, five hundred and fifteen (302,515) enterprises benefitted, of which sixty percent (60%) were women-owned.

“These were MSMEs that were in distress as a result of the pandemic. For some traders, the receipt of one thousand cedis (GH¢1,000) made the difference between the ruin of the household and survival.”

In addition, he said 58,041 health workers were employed to supplement the existing health sector workforce and subsequently, all of them have been absorbed as permanent workers in the health sector.

He added that frontline health workers were also granted fifty percent (50%) tax relief for the period while calling on Ghanaians to be forever grateful for the work that so many people did to keep them safe during the peak of the pandemic.


All households, he further noted, enjoyed free water supply and huge discounts on electricity bills, because access to water was a necessity to ensure people adhered to hygiene practices, and access to electricity was important as everybody was encouraged to stay at home. These, he stated, also provided an economic cushion to protect lives and livelihoods at a time of difficulty.

Explaining further on what Covid funds were expended on, President Akufo-Addo said “Mr Speaker, the government took a deliberate decision to try and keep the inevitable disruptions across all our lives down to a minimum in the education sector, by opening schools and education institutions as soon as it was made safe to do so.

“It was an expensive undertaking and not universally popular. But faced with the prospect of a whole generation of our children losing irreplaceable years of education, and the real likelihood of many of them dropping out of school forever, we took the brave decision to open the institutions. Even then, it is worth pointing out that the school year has not fully returned to the predictable pre-covid calendar.

“After the event, some might be tempted to forget the volumes of sanitizer and other logistics it took to keep the schools open and safe, in much the same way as some might now choose to forget the vitriol that came from some who should have known better, threatening hell and damnation when, according to them, the children start dying in the schools.

“Mercifully, we did not lose a single child to COVID in school. I would like to suggest that, with the best will in the world, Mr Speaker, no auditor can put a figure on the cost of keeping the children in school safely during that crisis, nor the continuing cost of the effect of the pandemic on our young people; not the financial cost, not the emotional cost, and certainly not the social cost. But we must thank the Almighty that we have survived to repair the damage, and begin to rebuild our economy.”


Source: Mensah