MoF Welcomes Auditor General’s Covid Report
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has welcomed the Auditor General’s report on the government’s expenditure on COVID-19 from 2020 to 2022.
In a statement, the Ministry commended the auditor for the timely release of the report.
Reacting to some concerns raised by the auditor, the Ministry said its expenditures were consistent with the mandate approved by Parliament.
The auditor in his scrutiny of the Ministry’s disbursements found that 102 payments to some service providers during the period under review were made outside the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), contrary to Regulation 61 of the Public Financial Management Regulations, 2019 (L.I. 2378).
“We observed that in 2020, 102 payment vouchers were used in disbursing GH¢231,150,955.97 to service providers for the provision of hotel accommodations, evacuations of Ghanaians, supply of fuel and transfer of funds to MDAs. We however, noted that the payments to service providers were made outside the GIFMIS platform. Similarly, in 2021, 92 payment vouchers were used to pay GH¢311,907,753.13 for PPEs, hotel accommodation and fumigation by resorting to the use of manual cash books on excel spread sheets and manual cheques other than GIFMIS.”
Additionally the auditor found that the Ministry failed to deduct withholding tax from Smart Infraco Limited for the company’s provision of smart workspace platforms for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) to facilitate virtual workspace in 2020.
“We noted that on 6 May 2020, management of the Ministry of Finance paid Smart Infraco Limited GH¢23,388,750 for the provision of smart workspace platforms for MDAs to facilitate virtual workspace. However, we noted that there was no deduction of withholding tax of GH¢1,754,156.25 on the payment to Smart Infraco Limited.”
But the Ministry in its statement said the disbursement to the service providers were done to ensure timely release of funds to save lives, livelihoods, and property.
“The Ministry of Finance coordinated the mobilization and disbursement of funds for the Covid-19 responses by Government in accordance with the Public Financial Management Act, to ensure timely release of funds to save lives, livelihoods, and property.”
Meanwhile, it said meetings are being organised to engage the implementing Agencies to evaluate actions taken to implement the audit recommendations in the audit report.
Additionally, it said it is preparing an Emergency Expenditure Management Guideline which will provide the government with administrative protocols in times of emergency such as the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure compliance with relevant PFM regulations while providing timely responses.
“The Ministry of Finance will continue to apply its best efforts to enforce and enhance expenditure management and accountability to ensure proper utilization of tax revenue to the full benefit of citizens using established budgetary and accountability systems in Government”, it assured.
According to the Auditor General’s report, the government of Ghana mobilised GH¢21,844,189,185.24 for the Covid-19 response.
Source: opemsuo.com/Hajara Fuseini