Parliament on Thursday night, under a Certificate of Urgency, passed the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) National Trust Fund Bill, 2020 to give legislative backing to the proposed establishment of a fund to complement the efforts of the Government of Ghana in the fight against COVID-19.
The fund is also to support the needy and the vulnerable negatively affected by the pandemic and for related matters.
As part of responses from the Government to the pandemic, Parliament passed the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012), and the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo issued an executive instrument to combat the disease.
Since the implementation of the measures, some members of public, groups and corporate bodies had donated, gifts and other voluntary contributions to complement the efforts of the government to combat COVID-19.
“It therefore became imperative to establish a Fund to properly receive and manage the donations for the intended objective of complementing Government’s efforts at combating COVID-19 and to assist in the welfare of the needy and the vulnerable who have been afflicted or impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” a report of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, read by its chair, Mr Ben Abdallah Banda, said.
The bill consists of 26 clauses. These are the introductory provisions for the establishment of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) National Trust Fund under Clauses 1 to 6.
Clauses 6 to 11 cover matters relating to the governance of the Bill, while Clauses 14 to 18 outline administrative matters to the Fund.
Financial Matters are covered under Clause 19 to 22, while miscellaneous provisions are covered under 23 to 26.
According to Attorney General and Minister for Justice Gloria Akufo, the Fund would receive and manage contributions and donations from well-meaning individuals, groups and corporate bodies.
She said other beneficiaries of the Fund would be frontline and volunteers engaged in the combat of the COVID-19 pandemic and to support the vulnerable and the needy affected by the pandemic.
The Committee noted that the fund would be funded from donations, gifts and other voluntary contributions by individuals, groups and corporate bodies; from moneys that may become lawfully due to the Fund and other moneys that the Board of Trustees of the Fund may determine in consultation with the Minister responsible for Finance.
The money accruing to the Fund would be paid into a bank account to be opened.
On the management of the Fund, the Committee announced that the Fund would be managed by a Board of Trustees to be appointed by the President. The trustees would comprise a chairperson, and six persons one of whom would be a woman.
“The President would be required to take into account the integrity, knowledge, expertise and experience of the members when making the appointment.
To ensure transparency in the handling of the Fund, the Committee noted that a number of transparency arrangements in the bill including; auditing of the Fund and reporting on the activities of the Fund.
“The Fund would be required to establish an internal audit unit to be headed by an Internal Auditor, who shall be responsible for the internal audit of the Fund, The Internal Auditor would further submit reports to the Board with copies to the Minister responsible for the Fund and the Auditor-General,” the Committee recommended.