Minority urges Finance Minister to seek approval for COVID-19 fund

The Minority in Parliament has questioned the foot dragging of the Finance Minister in laying before Parliament a document to guide how the GH¢1billion to be withdrawn from the Ghana Stabilisation Fund will be disbursed.

The Minority was equally at loss as to the source of funding gap of US$65 million from the President’s US$100million to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the country after Parliament on Wednesday approved a US$35 million loan facility from the World Bank.

Mr James Avedzi, Deputy Minority Leader, in an interview with the Parliamentary Press Corps yesterday, said their fears stemmed from the fact that Parliament would be going on recess on Saturday, yet, since presenting proposals for Parliament to consider approving both the US$35 million and the GH¢1 billion, nothing had been heard from the Finance Minister again.

The GARID loan facility was earlier this year approved by Parliament to improve flood risk management in Accra.

However, Mr Avedzi made it clear that, the Minority would not in any way become a stumbling block in the fight and efforts against fighting the pandemic if the source of the funding and its implementation were legitimate and transparent.

He said, the country was not in normal times and that there was the need to make policy and directions clear in fighting the pandemic as well as mitigating the impact of the virus on the citizenry, especially, after the lockdown.

Mr Avedzi said, he was particularly worried because both the US$100 million and GH¢1 billion were targeted to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in vulnerable households who depended on daily wages to make ends meet as well as businesses whose operations had been adversely affected by the lockdown.

He called on the Finance Minister as a matter of urgency to make an appearance before Parliament to seek approval for the GH¢1 billion and also indicate where the extra US$65 million would come from and how they would be spent.

Meanwhile, John Abu Jinapor, former deputy Minister for Energy and also Member of Parliament for Yapei-Kusawgu, has appealed to the government to consider dropping both the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Cylinder Recirculation Margin and Fuel Marking Model by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA).

He said any increase in that directions would bring untold hardship to the people whose budget had already been crippled by the COVID19 lockdown.

        By Lawrence Markwei                                                            

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