The Minister of Youth and Sports, Isaac Asiamah has justified government’s expenditure at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, insisting that it did not waste public money as some Ghanaians perceive.
In July this year, the Minister disclosed that the country spent $4.5 million on the 2019 AFCON which was staged in Egypt.
Isaac Asiamah told Ghana’s parliament that the budget allocation for the entire tournament was $6.3 million but $4.5 million was disbursed due to the team’s early exit from the competition.
The Minister’s revelation was greeted with backlash by some Ghanaians including ace broadcaster Kwame Sefa Kayi who questioned the logic in spending such huge amount on a tournament that rakes in little revenue.
“The prize money for winning the tournament is $4.5million. Of course, the joy that would have come to this country had we won would have been invaluable. It would have been priceless but that’s one aspect of it.
“But how can you go into a tournament knowing that the final figure you can earn is $4.5million but you sit and prepare a budget of over $6 million, which is more than the ultimate prize money? So, I’ll ask the same question I’ve asked already. If it was your own money would you spend it that way?” he quizzed.
Speaking at a meet-the-press session last week, Isaac Asiamah asked Ghanaians to make a decision on whether participating in the AFCON is worthy course or not.
According to the man who in opposition gained recognition for his transparency calls and a campaigner for the effective use of public funds, preparing for the AFCON requires a great deal of money so Ghanaians should get used to it.
“Let’s be honest and check the AFCON budget over the years. 2013 for example, we spent 15million dollars. As a nation we need to decide whether we are going to participate in the AFCON or not because the moment you make the attempt to participate you have to incur expenditure.
“The team needs to be prepared and preparation involves a lot. You can’t just say we are going for a tournament so no preparation. They were in Dubai for three weeks. There are state institutions mandated to check every expenditure and that is it. So, when I’m found guilty of any expenditure, they will call me back to parliament”, he said.
2019 AFCON: I’ll reappear before Parliament if I’m found guilty of embezzlement – Asiamah