Government spent GHS 8,725,000.00 and USD 1,866,934.00 in repatriating Ghanaians in China and the United Arab Emirates respectively and others who became stranded in other countries across the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The expenditure involved quarantine and air tickets while an additional USD 475,895.00 was expended on evacuating those in West and Central African countries and a further GHS 44,460,530.00 spent to quarantine evacuees in eighty five hotels spread across Accra, Prampram Bolgatanga, Takoradi and Kasoa.
Some private individuals also made donations including the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central Kennedy Ohene Agyapong who mobilised USD 428,000 and a personal cash donation of USD 200,000.00 to support evacuation from Lebanon.
A cash donation of GHS 200,000.00 from Sethi Brothers was also received to subsidize the cost of quarantine of some evacuees from the United Kingdom
The cost of the hotel accommodation for the evacuees included three meals and water per day for the fourteen-day quarantine period.
In all government successfully evacuated 10,025 stranded Ghanaians during the evacuation across the globe using KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Emirates Airlines as well as the Ghana Air Force Casa aircraft which was used to evacuate those from West and Central African countries.
A further 534 Ghanaians from Saudi Arabia, 233 from Qatar and 230 from Kuwait working as domestic workers in the Gulf whose plight got worsened during the pandemic were repatriated with the government absorbing the cost of quarantine,
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Shirley Ayorkor Botchway made these disclosures in Parliament on Thursday July 22, when she appeared before the House to answer to a question.
The question stood in the name of the North Tongu Member of Parliament Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa who wanted to know from the Minister the number of Ghanaians evacuated from the foreign countries to Ghana due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost of the evacuation,
The Minister disclosed that Cabinet on Friday 22nd May 2020 approved a strategy paper presented by her Ministry with a further directive to develop an evacuation implementation plan for the evacuation of the stranded Ghanaians.
The implementation exercise, according to her, was put into effect on 23rd May 2020 in collaboration with the Covid-19 Task Force to bring these stranded Ghanaians back home.
She said the evacuees comprised ability-to-pay migrants, government-funded evacuation of officials and state-sponsored students, the distressed or destitute comprising Ghanaians who travelled before the advent of the pandemic and returnees or deportees comprising Ghanaians who had been scheduled for removal from their various countries of abode.
The evacuation exercise, she noted, was undertaken in phases to ensure a well-coordinated exercise which decision was primarily informed by financial and logistical considerations such as the capacity of quarantine and isolation centres and the human resource capacity of the Covid-19 Task Force to hold large numbers of evacuees.
The Minister however revealed that donations from individuals did not go to Covid-19 Trust Fund because donors such as Ken Agyapong requested his monies spent on the destitutes in Lebanon while Sethi Brothers directed their donation go to stranded Ghanaians in the United Kingdom.
She said justice for human right violations for the illegal migrants in the Gulf States could not be sought since they used different airports and unapproved routes, secured visas elsewhere and added that majority of these evacuees from Lebanon have since returned.