As part of efforts to promote the effective use of COVID-19 finances in Ghana, Civic-Tech Non-Governmental Organizations, BudgIT Ghana and Connected Development (CODE), have launched a project to track how funds earmarked for COVID-19 response were allocated and expended in the country.
The project, dubbed the Covid-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) is being done in collaboration with SEND Ghana.
It will lend insight into government’s expenditure to curb the spread of the pandemic, strengthen public awareness and ensure effective governments’ use of COVID-19 funds.
In tracking the funds, BudgIT will undertake two major research projects to examine the nation’s response to the pandemic, with interest in procurement disclosures and data availability, relief packages to both households and businesses among others.
Speaking at a media brifing in Accra, BudgIT’s Country Lead, Ray Fiifi Nkum noted that, CTAP aims at also leveraging on digital tools to promote public discussion about the covid-19 expenditure.
This will deepen civic engagement and access to information.
“The unavailability of public data on COVID-19 expenditure has raised concerns about the misuse of the intervention funds among a section of the citizens and civil society, thus the need for this project,” he said.
CEO, BudgIT Foundation, Gabriel Okeowo also said, the challenges presented by COVID-19 have made transparency more critical than ever.
“We are working towards data-driven transparency to improve accountability to development partners and citizens,” he stated.
He further noted that greater transparency is crucial at the state level for accountability and for public confidence in government, but also at the international level to enable a more coordinated and effective response by development and humanitarian actors.
Since March 2020, when Ghana recorded its first confirmed coronavirus cases, governments, bilateral and multilateral donors, development banks, philanthropic organizations, and the private sector have contributed funds, equipment, and expertise to support the country’s COVID-19 response.
Among other sources, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank disbursed US$1 billion and US$230 million respectively t0 assist the West African nation in tackling the pandemic.
Concerns about the potential for misuse of the COVID-19 funds in developing economies, especially when they are dispersed under emergency conditions, have prompted development partners to take steps to improve transparency and accountability.