Send Ghana, non governmental organisation, has called on the Auditor General to conduct special audits into COVID-19 related spending, to ensure value for money in the emergency fiscal policy interventions.
Mr Isaac Nyarko-Kwakye, Programmes Officer Send Ghana, said this had become necessary as it would allow for transparency and accountability to clear the misconceptions in the public domain.
Making the observation at a policy forum on COVID-19 report, he said, if the Auditor General, who is the supreme authority on such matters, was able to come out with a result in that regard, it would satisfy civil society organisations for further engagements.
The report was on the theme: “COVID-19 Awareness and Adherence to, and Effect of Government of Ghana’s COVID-19 Response Measures, Transparency and Accountability around COVID-19 Inflows and Expenditure”.
The forum, sponsored by Star Ghana, was a platform for stakeholders to deliberate on the findings of the report and make proposals to government to influence its policy decisions towards tackling the pandemic.
It also formed part of activities under the Partnership Beyond Aid project around COVID-19 response and recovery plans.
This was after the Government pegged the fiscal impact of COVID-19 expenditure at GHS19 billion in 2020 budget statement.
Mr Nyarko-Kwakye said, when done successfully, it would ensure that institutions charged to look at transparency and accountability did a good a job.
The study conducted in 2020, looked at rapid assessment, participants experience of COVID-19, accountability and transparency, social audit of the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP), among others.
According to him, the 2018, 2019 and 2020 budget allocation to the health sector was below 10 per cent which did not conform to the Abuja Declaration of 15 per cent allocation to health services.
He said this showed how unprepared the country was in case of a Pandemic.
Despite the allocations made, which went into the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), payment of front line workers, and to WASH government must be ready to spend money when it comes to the health sector, he stated.
Mr Nyarko-Kwakye therefore called for a health sector reform to put the country in good standing to mitigate issues in such circumstances.
He said going forward, Send Ghana would engage the appropriate Parliamentary select committees on the findings as well as embark on continues education on COVID-19 and the need for people to get vaccinated through various channels including the Media.
He asked the Government to sensitize the public on COVID-19 vaccination, especially in the wake of reports suggesting low vaccines acceptance despite the vaccines received.
Government should invest infrastructure for e-health and tele-health to enhance virtual health services delivery in all facilities, he added.
The Programmes Officer asked government to depoliticise all national programmes and adopt a bottom-up approach in planning and implementation of social interventions in the future.
Participants at the forum include, representative from Ministry of Health, Coalition of NGO’s in Health, stakeholders and the media