False! Ken Ofori-Atta did not say Gov’t spent GH¢36 million on agenda 111 logo

News is circulating on social media that Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has said government spent GH¢36 million on designing the agenda 111 logo.

The news emerged hours after the minister responded to the call by parliament to provide a statement on the government’s expenditure on COVID-19.

Fact-check Ghana has verified the claims and concludes they are false.

The team watched the recordings of the entire proceedings of the minister of finance’s presentation. The team also assessed the minister’s 15-page statement to parliament on the COVID-19 expenditure, which he read on the floor.

“Agenda 111” is a moniker for the government’s project which is aimed at building 111 district, regional and mental hospitals across the country. The project was announced in the wake of the pandemic and is therefore captured as part of the government’s expenditure under COVID-19.

In his speech, Ken Ofori-Atta mentioned “Agenda 111” twice. In both instances, the minister indicated how much the government released for the construction of the hospitals. Nowhere in Ken Ofori-Atta’s speech did he mention agenda 111 logo, its designing, or how much was spent on its design. The minister did not also mention GH¢36 million with regard to agenda 111.

Here’s what the finance minister said about the agenda 111 in his presentation:

“Mr. Speaker, in the wake of the pandemic, Government took a bold decision to provide health infrastructure in the districts and regions that did not have a District or Regional Hospital. In all, 111 District, Regional and Mental Hospitals (Agenda 111) were programmed for construction. A total of GH¢600 million was released to begin the construction across the country in 2020.”

He continued: “In the 2021 budget, an amount of GH¢779.05 million was programmed for the continuation of the Agenda 111 projects. Out of this, an amount of GH¢763.92 million has been released”.

In the document on the expenditure submitted to parliament by the ministry, the above-quoted statement of the finance minister is exactly what is captured. The document further captured “Agenda 111” twice in the tables in the appendix. The tables in the appendix do not also indicate that GH¢36 million was used to design the logo.

So where did the claim of GH¢36 million logo design for agenda 111 come from?

After Ken Ofori-Atta’s presentation, Cassiel Ato Forson, MP for Ejumako-Enyan-Esiam constituency and former finance minister, made a number of arguments on the floor. At some point in his argument, Mr Ato Forson referred to the 2021 mid-year budget statement which was presented in July last year where he mentioned that GH¢36 million was used to design the agenda 111.

Below is a transcript of part of what Cassiel Ato Forson said on the floor of parliament regarding the agenda 111.

“You went on in your own document. You said that you paid 36 million for the design of the agenda 111. For who? For what purpose? Design of agenda 111. Mr Speaker, in the same document, page 100 of the mid-year review[2021], he went on to say, again stated here; and that’s why I am saying I commend him for the consistency.

“Mr Speaker, he says here that agenda 111, January to December 2020, provision of health infrastructure agenda 111 600 million cedis. Mr. Speaker my question is, you spent 600 million cedis for agenda 111, a noble idea. But have they used the money?”

From the above, Cassiel Ato Forson, MP for Ejumako-Enyan-Esiam constituency, did not even say it was the design of the logo that cost GH¢36 million but rather the project design.

Therefore, the viral claims that suggest that Ken Ofori-Atta, the finance minister, said GH¢ 36 million was used to design the agenda 111 logo are completely false.

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