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COVID-19 was financial bonanza for NPP – Nii Moi Thompson

  Thu, 20 Jun 2024
Economy & Investments COVID-19 was financial bonanza for NPP – Nii Moi Thompson
THU, 20 JUN 2024 LISTEN

Dr. Nii Moi Thompson, a renowned economist, has said the COVID-19 pandemic unexpectedly boosted the Akufo-Addo government’s financial fortunes.

The former Director General of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) pointed out that Ghana benefited significantly from the pandemic, highlighting the unexpected financial gains the country made during that period.

He emphasised that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) provided the Ghanaian government with a $1 billion grant without any strings attached.

In an interview with Bernard Avle on Channel One TV’s The Point of View, Dr. Thompson revealed that the IMF also offered an additional $1 billion to Ghana in 2021, which was curiously omitted from the Auditor General’s report on COVID-19 expenditures.

He suggested that the omission of the $1 billion disbursed to Ghana in 2021 from the Auditor General’s report might have been an oversight.

Dr. Moi Thompson further stated that Ghana received a total of GHC27 billion in COVID-19-related funds, but the government only spent 42% of this amount on actual COVID-19-related expenses, leaving a significant portion unaccounted for.

“We turn to look at COVID-19 purely in economic terms, but it was a financial bonanza for the government. You may recall that they actually even said that they exceeded the revenue targets in 2020, despite what everyone else thinks. Even though, revenue went down in certain sectors… the ICT, the telcos and others, they boomed.

“But, as a result of COVID-19, the IMF also gave us a billion dollars in cash in 2020, pretty much, no conditions attached. The significance of that is that in 2015 when we went to the IMF, they pledged, I think $940 million spread over three years.

He stressed, “Contrary to what we got in 2020, it was a billion dollars, go and spend for COVID. There was another billion dollars in 2021, which is critical because it is omitted from the audited general’s report on COVID-19 expenditures… Even though, the Ministry of Finance acknowledges the one billion dollars on its website. But for some reason, it was excluded. Maybe it was an oversight I don’t know. If we include the financial inflows, we got from covid-19 alone it was about GHC27 billion. Out of that, they spent just about 42% on COVID expenditures, the rest, they said went into budget support.”

He raised concerns about the country’s persistent infrastructure funding gaps despite receiving a significant amount of money from the IMF as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, questioning why the influx of funds failed to adequately address Ghana’s infrastructure spending shortfalls.

“In terms of money, they have had more, than any other government. The question is what happened to all this money? The Eurobonds where did they go? We hear that they were spent on infrastructure, but when you go through the budget, we still have shortfalls in infrastructure spending, except for 2020 and 2021. You drive around Accra and other parts of the country, there’s visible deterioration in physical infrastructure.”

—citinewsroom

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