Fighting Covid-19 has been “a very expensive undertaking characterised, as it was, by lockdowns, closed borders, minimal economic activity and the consequential steep decline in revenues”, President Nana Akufo-Addo has said.
In his 29th update on the pandemic, which was recently declared to be over by the World Health Organization, Mr Akufo-Addo said the “testing for the millions who went to public laboratories” and the “quarantining of arrivals from outside the country”, coupled with hospital admissions, treatments and “feeding for all patients were publicly-funded and cost vast sums of money”.
Also, he said the “vaccination programme was expensive”, emphasising: “Very expensive”.
He said “even though we received some donated vaccines, we purchased a lot with our own resources, and the multiple country-wide vaccination campaigns cost a lot of money”.
Furthermore, Mr Akufo-Addo said the fumigation, cleansing and disinfection of markets, schools, offices and other public spaces, “also cost a lot of money”.
On top of that, he noted, “free water was provided, and the cost of electricity subsidised” while “54,000 additional health workers were hired, and “all health workers” given “a tax rebate”.
“Fellow Ghanaians, keeping us all informed about this most unpredictable virus was expensive”, Mr Akufo-Addo stressed, explaining: “A lot of money was spent on public education, public information, risk communication, public and community engagements and keeping us all abreast with the relevant information”.
“We must thank the Ministry of Information and its agencies, and the National Commission for Civic Education for the exceptional work”, he expressed gratitude, noting: “It took courage, and I am particularly happy that we reopened schools, colleges and universities at the time we did in spite of the fears of some parents and the condemnation of our critics”.
“In some countries, millions of girls and boys did not return when schools eventually reopened after they had been kept shut for over a year”.
The president said the logistics for keeping the schools open “were huge and costly, but I am delighted that no Ghanaian child was left behind”.
“Let me make it clear that COVID expenditures, essentially unplanned, have been subjected, at my instigation, to audit by the Auditor-General, and are going through parliamentary processes”.
“We all deserve to be reassured that the crisis was not used as a cover for corrupt practices”, he added.
Also, he said the COVID Health Recovery Levy that was introduced “to help fill some of the expenditure holes, might not be the most popular tax, but I entreat all of you to bear with us”.
The Covid Trust Fund, he also mentioned, has performed an “invaluable service” but with the end of the pandemic, it “has reached the end of its mandate”. “I thank the trustees as well as all donors and contributors to the fund”.
As of 15 May 2023, there have been 1,462 deaths attributable to Covid-19 in Ghana, with the last death being recorded on 8 January 2023, the president reported.
“These are not mere figures, or inconvenient statistics; they are dearly loved parents, sons and daughters, relations, friends and colleagues who we shall continue to miss dearly. May their souls rest in perfect peace”.
The president was “glad to report that, currently, we do not have any critical or severe cases”.
In general, he said since the first case was confirmed in Ghana on 12 March 2020, “there have been 171,758 positive cases from 2,538,198 tests.
“You would recall that we started the Covid vaccination campaign in March 2021 and, as of 25 May 2023, 25,170,382 vaccine doses have been administered”, he accounted.
He said there are 10,536,420 fully-vaccinated people, that is, 52.7% out of the 20 million target “we had set, with 4,599,883 people having received booster doses”.