The Ministry of Finance has issued a press release in a show of transparency about the COVID 19 funds which were illegally accessed and spent in the first place. The Minister insists on virement as the means to access these funds when he should have abided by the Constitution and the Public Finance Act appropriately to access this money.
However MOFEA now claims that, in fact the Ministry of Health spent D41.6M out of the D160M provided to them. The use of those funds is what is in this press release. Just that this financial report raises more questions than provides satisfactory answers. We hope the NAMs will give it the necessary scrutiny to unravel the various line items so as to get the true picture and prevent duplication and misleading facts.
In my review, I have a number of questions for the Minister of Finance to clarify? Look at the ‘Notes’ section in the press release to know what the line items mean.
• Allowances 5,550,000.00
¬ How many frontline health workers are covered?
¬ How many days or weeks are covered?
¬ What is the payment rate?
• Transport Expense 2,325,437.87
¬ Who are being transported?
¬ Is this about Transport or Night Allowances?
¬ ‘Night Allowances’ are totally different from ‘Transport Expenses’.
• Purchase of Fuel and Lubricants 600,001.48
¬ How is this distributed? For which vehicles?
¬ In fuel coupons or cash?
• Miscellaneous Office Expenses/Imprest 1,490,800.00
¬ Which expenses were incurred which were unexpected. Is that to say unbudgeted?
¬ What is the imprest for? Is it different from ‘Fuel and Lubricants’ and ‘Transport Expenses aka Night Allowances’?
¬ How many regional health directors are there?
¬ What are ‘Health Expenses’? What items?
• Hotel Accommodation 14,375,686.00
¬ Who is the hotel accommodation for?
¬ How many people and for how many days?
¬ Which hotels?
• Specialized and Technical Materials 3,611,940.00
¬ What is the breakdown by item and quantity?
¬ To whom are these items distributed?
¬ Is it to communities or hospitals or elsewhere?
• Training 41,250.00
¬ How many training workshops were held? Dates and venue?
¬ How many participants trained?
¬ What specific topics?
• Food & Food Services 359,850.00
¬ For who are these food and food services?
¬ Is ‘Food and Food Services’ different from the Training?
¬ Is ‘Food and Food Services’ different from ‘Hotel Accommodation’?
• Vehicles 12,800,000.00
¬ How many vehicles? Type?
¬ Who are using the vehicles?
¬ What is the reason for buying new vehicles?
• Medical & Hospital Equipment 352,000.00
¬ How many ventilators?
¬ Where will they be issued?
• Office Equipment 96,700.00
¬ How many water dispensers?
¬ Where will they be distributed?
Since this is a press release one would expect there exists a more detailed report to capture all of the above queries. NAMs take note.