The Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has clarified that only 12 million cedis out of the 54 million cedis captured in his mid-year budget review presentation was used for provision of hot meals during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Many including the minority questioned the amount asking for details following the Minister’s presentation.
Mr Ofori-Atta also expressed displeasure over the seeming politicization of the distribution of food to the vulnerable during the lockdown.
He said “it is truly unfortunate that an attempt has been made to politicize the issue of providing food for our brothers and sisters in need during the lockdown. It is also unfortunate that the impression has been created that the total amount of 54 million was used for hot meals over the three weeks lockdown period.”
“We estimated we would need an amount of approximately 40 million to provide hot meals to the vulnerable at 5 cedis per pack during the lockdown period. However, we spent 12 million on hot meals including the cost of distribution.”
He explained “government budgeted 40.3 million for basic uncooked food items. We spent 42.2 million. It is this 12 million spent on hot meals and the 42 million spent on uncooked food items that gave a total of 54 million as stated in the mid-year review. The 12.1 million for hot meals served 150,000 people during the lockdown including the cost of transportation and other operational cost.”
In concluding the budget debate today, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu pointed out what he termed as unnecessary expenditure of the Nana Addo administration including the 21 billion on the banking sector clean up when the distressed financial institutions needed far less to survive.
But in a reaction Mr. Ofori-Atta argued every penny government has expensed was prudently done.
The Finance Minister, during the mid-year budget presentation in Parliament on Thursday, July 23, 2020, said the supplementary budget is to assist the government to implement various initiatives to strengthen various sectors of the economy due to the revenue shortfalls and budget deficit created by the impact of the pandemic.
Despite the government’s optimistic outlook, some Minority legislators have accused the government of not giving the true state of the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.