The Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI), in a statement copied to News Ghana on 20th April, 2020, has indicated that, “In as much as we appreciate the showcasing of donors donating to the covid-19 fund, the fund managers of covid-19 must give the general public detailed performance statement of the fund indicating all credit and debit descriptions since the inception of the fund. It is a public fund meant for public support so must information on the fund be made public.
Though the covid-19 fund is set up to achieve a specific purpose as stated by the President of the republic of Ghana it lacks information to be accessible by the public. The appointment and announcing of the Board to steer the affairs of the fund is only a partial information.
However, there is more that needs to be known by the Ghanaian public, the donors and as well as the potential donors.
We are of the view that these few issues pertaining to the covid-19 fund and stated below must be addressed by the Board of covid-19 fund or the President of the republic of Ghana to the general public.
First, the general public must know on daily/weekly basis how much is accruing to the fund just as the live update on the covid-19 cases from the website of ministry of health, including the details of credit and debit entries on the covid-19 fund.
The list of institutions and individuals who have donated to the fund so far and disbursements out of the fund. In terms of disbursement, the details of recipients either by their associations or industrial matrices must be made available and accessible by the general public and the donors as well. This is not to demean any beneficiary but rather to enhance accountability, integrity and transparency on the fund.
Again, the general policies and procedures of the fund must be well-defined and devoid of any vagueness to the general public to avoid nepotism, favoritism and partisanship allocations of the fund. Though the President verbally indicated on a lighter note how businesses can access the fund through their respective associations but that was not well enough as we have seen in the cases of subsidized electricity and water bills and food sharing announcement.
The truth must be said, at the least opportunity of state’s resource distribution in Ghana, who gets what, when and how is a great deal on partisan basis. Clearly, if the policies and procedures are not clearly defined by the President or the Board of the fund, the fund will only cushion businesses affiliated to the party in power and non for other businesses.
Also, the procedure for disbursement out of the fund for management expenses by the Board of the fund must be made public to avoid over usage of the fund for other unintended purposes. This lack of comprehensiveness of policies and procedures of the covid-19 fund will defeat the objective of the fund.
Additionally, the question of when for an application to be made to the fund by businesses must be disclosed by the President to the general public. This is a critical moment for the survival of many businesses. “When “is very crucial for all the businesses.
Should it be after covid-19 or during or what? Some businesses are currently struggling to contain cost of operations and payroll cost, but some of them need to be cushioned immediately to ease the loss of business and employment. So when can these businesses or persons apply immediately through which means to the fund for an assistance must be addressed quickly.
Last but not least, the question of how the Board of covid-19 fund will be dissolved must also be made public. It is after the covid-19 or as and when the fund becomes totally insolvent to meet requests of businesses and also by what procedure?
How will the balance on the covid-19 fund or assets or liabilities of the fund be extinguished before or after the dissolution of the Board of covod-19? These issues must be addressed as well to the general public to avoid any form of misapplication of hard earned resources of individuals and corporate institutions unused before or after the closure of the fund.
Donors are donating to support the government effort in the fight against the deadly disease, so must the trust of the donors in the government must be preserved today for a similar help in the future. This will improve the credibility of the government against the public notion about government when it comes to public fund management.”
Isaac Kojo Annan Yalley
(Chartered accountant and economist)
ILAPI – Ghana
President – ILAPI