Policy think tank, Strategic Thinkers Network-Africa (STRANEK-Africa) has asked the Auditor-General to conduct a special audit into the GH¢54.3 million spent on providing cooked and uncooked food for the vulnerable in Accra and Kumasi during the three-week Coronavirus induced lockdown period.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta during the mid-year budget review in Parliament last Thursday, July 23, 2020, disclosed that government spent GH¢54.3 million to provide food for the needy.
“Government through the Gender Ministry and NADMO provided 1,827,581 and 917,142 cooked food packs to vulnerable persons within Accra and Kumasi respectively. In collaboration with Faith-Based Organizations, the government also distributed dry food packages to about 470,000 families.”
“Mr. Speaker, the support to households, in terms of supply of dry food packs and hot cooked meals cost government GH¢54.3 million to enable them to mitigate the impact of the pandemic,” he added.
STRANEK-Africa subsequently petitioned the Auditor-General to audit how the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection expended the said amount.
“We write with regards to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection spending a colossal amount of GH₵ 54.3 million on dry food packs and cooked meals shared in Accra and Kumasi during the three-week lockdown period.”
“We humbly request you to specially audit the amount spent on the COVID-19 food by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection since the country has been thrown into a state of shock, to ascertain in detail what actually went into that amount.”
Due to the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in the country, the Government imposed a three-weeks lockdown in a bid to curb the spread of the disease in the country.
This led to a decision to feed the needy and vulnerable groups during the lockdown followed widespread concern over the treatment of some stranded head porters who tried sneaking home to Walewale in the North East Region and were stopped at Ejisu and returned to Accra.
The government then committed to feeding and housing the needy and kayayei in the locked-down areas.
The President, Nana Akufo-Addo said there was the need for the provision of “food packages and hot meals” to poor households to enable them minimise their vulnerability even though the coronavirus had brought hardship to many Ghanaians.
The Gender Ministry announced free food hotlines to help the vulnerable in secluded places get in touch with the Ministry to ensure equitable distribution of the food.