COVID-19: Over GHC53m spent on returning Ghanaians from abroad

Ghana spent over 53 million cedis in evacuating some stranded Ghanaians during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The amount covered airfare, quarantine, food, and insurance.

This was revealed by Minister for Foreign Affairs Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey in parliament while answering questions from North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

The minister further disclosed in total, some 10,025 stranded Ghanaians were evacuated during the exercise that spanned between 23rd May 2020 and 18th September 2020.

Speaking on the floor of parliament, the Foreign Affairs Minister said “It would be recalled that cabinet at its meeting on Friday 22nd May 2020 approved a strategy paper presented by the ministry of foreign affairs and regional integration with a further directive to develop an evacuation implementation plan for the evacuation of Ghanaians who had become stranded in other countries across the world due to the covid-19 pandemic.”

“The implementation plan was put into effect on the 23rd of May 2020 in close collaboration with the Covid-19 task force to bring home these stranded Ghanaians.”

She added: “before proceeding to provide details of the evacuation exercise, I wish to place on record that the evacuation exercise was executed in collaboration with other government agencies. As such, the information I will provide this august house particularly those regarding amounts spent by the government on the quarantine of evacuees were provided to my ministry by the national security secretariat which was in charge of quarantine.”

She revealed that the evacuation exercise was grouped into four categories namely; ability to pay, government-funded evacuation, distressed and the destitute, and deportees and returnees.”

She told the House that “the sums of GHC8,725,000 and $1,866,934 were approved by the government to cater for the cost of quarantine and air tickets of stranded Ghanaians in China and the UAE respectively.”

“In addition, 475, 895 was expended on the evacuation of stranded Ghanaians in West and Central Africa.”

She disclosed that “the government of Ghana also spent a sum of GHC44,460,530 on quarantine of various evacuees in eighty-five hotels spread across Accra, Prampram, Bolgatanga, Takoradi, and Kasoa. The cost of hotel accommodation for the evacuees included three meals and water per day for the fourteen-day quarantine.”

The amount spent on airfare for evacuees from the UAE, China was $463,118. Those from West and Central Africa was $475,895, whiles the rest from Lebanon was $634,150, totaling $1,573,163.

The total expenditure that was borne by the government on the quarantine for 650 evacuees from the UAE was GHC3,500,000, 517 persons from China was GHC4, 725,000, 506 persons from West and Central Africa; GHC2,156,000 whiles those from Europe and other parts of Africa totaled GHC 13,006,000

Also, insurance for the Ghana Airforce Charter c 295 that was used to evacuate Ghanaians was 73,530. That for 2,350 evacuees from Lebanon was GHC21,000,000. The total of expenditure on quarantine borne by government amounted to GHC44, 460,530.

The minister noted that some private individuals also made donations to support the effort of the government including the MP for Assin Central Kennedy Agyapong, who donated $428,000, and a personal donation of 200,000 to support evacuation from Lebanon.”

Also, a GHC200,000 cash donation was given Sethi Brothers to subsidize the cost of quarantine from evacuees from the UK.

She added that “the countries from which our compatriots  were evacuated included the UAE, UK, South Korea, USA, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, China, Israel, Kuwait, Germany, Qatar, Japan, Ukraine, Canada, Netherlands, and Egypt.”

Others were from “Nigeria, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Benin, Cote D Ivoire Turkey, India, Togo, Ethiopia, Senegal, Angola, Kenya, Belgium, and Russia.

The rest were Cuba, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, The Gambia, and Libya.”

Airlines used included KLM, Ethiopia Airlines, Middle East Airlines, and Emirates.”

The Ghana Airforce plane was used to transport evacuees from West and Central African Countries.



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