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We’ve Been Transparent With Ghanaians On Covid-19 Expenditure : Ofori-Atta

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The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta says claims that government has not been transparent with its COVID-19 expenditure are baseless.

According to him, all the funds mobilised and utilised in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic have been duly reported in line with government’s commitment to accountability and transparency.

The minister made the statement while addressing Parliament on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, on the country’s COVID-19 spending and other key questions raised by parliamentarians.

The issue of COVID-19 expenditure was raised by the Minority MPs, who said there is a need to audit the government’s spending.

But responding to the concerns, Mr Ofori-Atta said government is transparent on its expenditure items and will continue to operate an open-door policy and welcomes any opportunity to engage in the national interest.

“Mr. Speaker, at this juncture, I wish to dispel the notion that there have been inconsistencies in government data on COVID-19. His Excellency the President intimated during the State of the Nation Address on 30th March 2022, that we had mobilised about GH¢17.7 billion since 2020 to fight the pandemic,” he said.

“We have subsequently reconciled the data and I can report that as of end-May, 2022, we have mobilised GH¢18.19 billion to mitigate the effect of the pandemic. Again, when His Excellency the Vice President indicated on 7th April 2022 at the National TESCON Conference that government had spent GH¢8.1 billion on Covid-19, it was within the context of expenditures for 2020 as I have already indicated,” the Minister added.

Ken Ofori-Atta further explained that out of the GH¢18.19 billion expended to mitigate the effect of the pandemic, GH¢1.5 billion was disbursed under the Support to Households Programme, GH¢1 billion was allocated to health response-supplies equipment and relief for health workers, GH¢600 million was released to begin the construction across the country and a further GH¢763.92 million has been released to continue the construction of the 111 district hospitals.

He said government also programmed a total amount of GH¢875 million for security operations, evacuation of Ghanaians stranded abroad and coordination of MMDAs’ sanitation and disinfection exercises.

Additionally, he said, in line with measures to stabilise the economy after the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, government implemented programmes to revitalize the economy and protect jobs. This includes the GH¢600 million utilized under Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) by the NBSSI now the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA).

With regard to vaccine procurement, the Minister indicated that GH¢929.30 million was allocated. A total amount of GH¢775.82 million was released for the purchase of Sputnik V, the Janssen COV SARS 2 COVID Vaccines and the Emergency deployment of vaccines in schools, among other key government disbursements.

Kubidyza is a Global Celebrity Blogger, Music Promoter and a Social Media Influencer | Most Influential Blogger In Ghana For Bookings: Kubinho80@gmail.com

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Gov’t Sell Golden Tulip, Now Renamed Lancaster Hotel

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The Golden Tulip Hotels in Accra and Kumasi will be rebranded after the Ghanaian government sold its stake in the facility to some Lebanese investors.

The four-star hotels are owned by a joint venture between the governments of Ghana and Libya (GLAHCO), with Ghana owning 60% and Libya owning 40%.

According to media reports, Ghana has completely sold its franchise to a company called Lancaster.

This means that the renowned hotels in Ghana’s capital and the Ashanti Regional capital will be known as Lancaster Accra City Hotel and Lancaster Kumasi City Hotel as of July 1st, 2022.

A letter from the General Manager with the heads of departments in copy read: “Achour Holding Limited operating as Lancaster Hotels will be the new lessee and would take effect from 1st July, 2022, with same conditions as previously communicated”.

“We urge you to support the new company to ensure a successful takeoff,” the statement added.

Another letter from the Rooms Division Manager of Golden Tulip Hotel, Lucy Ahedor said “we wish to inform you that from 1st of July, 2022, the name of the hotel will now change to Lancaster Hotel. We would also like to inform you to rest assured as this change will not affect normal operations of the hotel”.

“We are happy to also announce that the hotel under this new name will be going through refurbishment by enhancing most of the facilities,” she added.


Some hotel employees confirmed the sale and name change to Joy News, while sources say the move was spearheaded by government officials.

The Golden Tulip Hospitality Group is a hotel franchise and management company with locations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific, and the Americas.

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Merchant SIMs, Cash-Outs, And Cash-Ins Exempted From E-Levy : GRA

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The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has denied social media reports that the tax collection agency will begin charging E-Levy on merchant SIM cards on July 1, 2022.

The false reports also claim that Cash-Ins or deposits made through a merchant or vendor will be subject to E-Levy. According to GRA, this is not the case.

In a press statement, the GRA stressed that “the Levy does not apply to Specified Merchant Payments. It added that Specified Merchant Payments are payments made to merchants through a payment service to a person registered with the GRA for the purposes of Income Tax or Value Added Tax (VAT). Customers making payments to such specified merchants will NOT be charged the E-Levy”.

According to the GRA, the E-Levy does not apply to cash withdrawals and cash deposits either at the bank or at a mobile money agent or vendor point.

It explained that Cash-Ins or deposits do not attract E-Levy hence customers are NOT to pay any amount as E-Levy.

“The general public should note that E-Levy is NOT charged on merchant SIMs, as is being purported. The E-Levy is only charged on a transfer from a customer to a Specified Merchant if the merchant is NOT registered with GRA for Income Tax or VAT purposes,” a statement said.

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Russian Citizens Will Need Visa To Enter Ukraine Henceforth

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Russian citizens will need a visa to enter Ukraine beginning Friday, July 1, after Kyiv ended a decade-long visa-free regime that facilitated cross-border travel for citizens of both countries.

Following a petition from a Ukrainian citizen, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the decision to end the visa-free regime.

Following Russia’s invasion, Zelensky stated that he supported the implementation of stricter controls for the entry of Russian citizens.

According to Zelensky, the country has decided to end visa-free travel for Russian citizens due to “unprecedented threats to Ukraine’s national security, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”

Previously, Russian citizens did not require visas to enter Ukraine and could stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

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