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17.04.2020 Feature Article

COVID 19: The President is hibernating on protecting the public purse.

COVID 19: The President is hibernating on protecting the public purse.
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The unsolved Covid-19 puzzle has redefined our way of life and our commitments to a quite a number of issues at this moment. Looking at the number of confirmed cases and the attendant death tolls of Covid-19, it is clear we are facing an era of unprecedented medical crisis. This is already applying pressure on all corners of the global economy and on individuals and families around the world. Much like Covid-19, corruption doesn’t discriminate: It impacts everyone regardless of social class, economic status, color, creed, or religion.

Regrettably, corruption booms for dishonest officials in times of tragedy, especially in areas with limited transparency, high levels of pre-crisis corruption, limited free press, poor education, and/or weak law enforcement and anti-corruption measures. President Akuffo Addo has won the hearts of many by his open attack on acts of corruption engaged by bad public officials. What I am not sure of is whether his commitment and enthusiasm to protect the public purse is not affected at this time of Covid-19. It is on record that the president now cares about human life more than the management of the economy as he knows how to bring economy back to life but not human lives. Certainly, he is not God. That statement gives you a clue of reckless spending during this time of crisis. March 2020 witnessed a wave of corruption-related incidents, decreasing transparency and accountability coupled with manipulative political propaganda from all over the world.

Specifically, in Ghana, some government efforts are deserving of all the applauds in every sense of the word. Sadly, some are also heart wrecking. I am sure the president quest to protect the public purse is on hibernation. The sudden rush by some government officials to procure Covid - 19 Tracker App with the gigantic sums being mentioned is serious. The launching of the app was accompanied by jubilations as though we have found the vaccine in Ghana. What about the cash paid out to the artist who performed? I said if the president has excess cash and doesn’t know what to use it for, he could have asked me to show him where to invest it for maximum outcome.

I am more convinced that in times like this there are those who aim to profit from others’ misfortune. Government spending GHc 2,000,000. 00 a day on food at the various lockdown areas is alarming. In my opinion it is too much. How many times are the people served food in a day? While emergency procedures are needed, they must remain publicly accountable for every contract concluded and spent. State institutions are not working in this time. It is NPP party executives that are sharing the food stuffs in some lockdown areas particularly Ashaiman.

I am excited about the Covid-19 one billion dollars from IMF that falls on Ghana like the manna in the days of old. I hope there wouldn’t be any “wakye” party and special ceremony to welcome the money. It is our prayer that the cash received by government is used judiciously for the benefit of Ghana. If government could provide a clear costed framework relating to how it intends to use the IMF cake would be very useful. Indeed, we find ourselves in the grip of a pandemic but the ethical distribution of funds and the enforcement of anti-corruption laws against all bad actors, regardless of their position is critical to saving lives and winning the battle against Covid-19.

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The RICH Ink

Selassie A. Rich
Selassie A. Rich, © 2020

Finance and Internal Control Expert|| Columnist|| Social Commentator || EntrepreneurColumn: SelassieA.Rich

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