The Ministry of Finance has started the preparation of a guideline for the management of expenditure during emergencies.
The Emergency Expenditure Management Guideline is expected to provide the government with administrative protocols in times of emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure compliance with relevant Public Financial Management (PFM) regulations.
The guidelines, which are part of actions being taken by the ministry after the Auditor-General’s Special Audit Report of Government of Ghana COVID-19 expenditure, are also expected to enable the government to provide timely responses to emergencies.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Ministry of Finance welcomed the Auditor-General’s report and gave the assurance that steps were being taken to address all issues.
They include meetings to engage with the implementing agencies to evaluate actions taken to implement the recommendations in the audit report.
The Ministry of Finance commissioned an audit on July 14, 2022 last year as part of best practice to understand the expenditure better to enable it to correct any anomalies going forward.
The audit report recommended a number of actions including the recovery or utilisation of an amount of $81.87 million due from undelivered COVID-19 vaccines, to delivery of 26 ambulances worth $607,419.02, the use of Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) to disburse monies to service providers, and a refund of unapproved sums of money to certain institutions, among others.
The Auditor-General said its examination indicated that as of June last year, $5.60 million out of $13.44 million worth of medical supplies sent to the Noguchi Memorial Institute remained unused.
It said the medical supplies included Antigen Test kits valued at $3.64 million and recommended that the Medical Director of the institute, Prof. Dorothy Yeboah Manu, should ensure that the items were utilised.
The ministry said the audit report confirmed the total resources mobilised for the COVID-19 response over the period March 2020 to June 2022 at GH¢21.84 billion.
It said as indicated in the report, the funds mobilised were to address finance direct COVID-19 intervention expenditures and support the funding gap in the budget, which was occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on revenue mobilisation.
“Hence, as reported on page 11, paragraph 31 of the report, the 53.8 per cent and 46.2 per cent spent on direct COVID-19 interventions and for general budget support respectively, were consistent with the mandate approved by Parliament,” the ministry said.
It said the Ministry of Finance coordinated the mobilisation and disbursement of funds for the COVID-19 responses by the government in accordance with the Public Financial Management Act, to ensure the timely release of funds to save lives, livelihoods and property.
“The Ministry of Finance takes note of the Auditor-General’s report. The ministry wishes to commend the Auditor-General on the publication of the Special Audit Report of Government of Ghana COVID-19 expenditure which was commissioned by the Minister for Finance on 14th July 2022 and the timely release of the Audit report,” it said.
The statement further gave the assurance that the ministry would continue to apply its best efforts to enforce and enhance expenditure management and accountability to ensure proper utilisation of tax revenue to the full benefit of citizens.
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