Evidence from the various Local Accountability Networks (LANets) suggest that Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition’s effort to promote transparency and accountability in the disbursement and usage of the Covid-19 fund is yielding results.
LANet members have reported that public institutions within their localities are beginning to respond to citizens’ demand to account for the use of the Covid-19 funds.
According to the focal persons for Techiman and Assin Fosu LANets, the public sector officials expressed the willingness to speak to them on issues relating to Covid 19 expenses. “When we approached the assembly officials, they opened up on what happened to the items such as veronica buckets that were missing and those that were damaged and we did not have any difficulties in getting information, especially the procurement officer has been supportive and responsive to our requests throughout the monitoring period ” Mr. Timothy Smith revealed during the engagement with LANet members.
The LANet focal person for Techiman, Mr. Mustapha Yeboah on his part also revealed that, the assembly has been cooperative since this project. “In fact, they responded to all the questions in the data collection questionnaire and even ask us to come back if we need some clarity or more information”
The GACC has been tracking the use of COVID-19 funds by the local governments within ten (10) project districts in Ghana with the support of the US Embassy. As part of project activities, citizen groups, LANets were equipped with the requisite knowledge to monitor the use of COVID funds by their local governments in the 10 project districts.
This project intends to create sustained awareness, accountability processes and effective monitoring of Government of Ghana (GoG) in administering and utilizing COVID-19 funds judiciously, both external and internal funds.
The engagements with the LANets provided updates on implementation of remedial commitments made by public institutions following findings from monitoring exercise undertaken by the LANets within the Techiman, Konongo, Assin Fosu and Ho Municipalities.
The meetings shared some experiences and strategies to sustain follow-ups beyond the project lifespan. In one of the engagements, the Executive Secretary of GACC, Mrs. Beauty E. Narteh advised LANet executives to devise strategies that would help sustain the monitoring activities even beyond the project to maintain the current results or progress of their activities.
The Head of Programmes, Mr. Bright Sowu, who has been leading the engagement process encouraged the LANets to schedule update meetings with the public institutions whose status of remedial commitments is unknown and for some outstanding commitments to fulfil.
The IMF has provided a $1 billion Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) to Ghana for responding to the corona virus pandemic. Ghana has also received $100 million for health-related logistics from the World Bank. In addition, various donors within the country have provided funding to the Government of Ghana to support COVID-19 response measures.
There are concerns from various quarters about whether government used these sums for the intended purpose, and whether the sum was spent in a judicious, transparent, and accountable manner.
Author: Faustina Djabatey
Communications Officer, GACC