The ‘Itukama COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund’ gained a lot of attention on social media recently, following heightened public interest in how the monies in the public fund were being utilised.
The fund was established at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, to facilitate public donations to help mitigate the crisis, assist frontline workers and help with COVID-19 prevention efforts. It had accumulated a total of Rs. 1.7 billion.
Responding to the public’s demand for accountability, the President’s Media Division (PMD) released a statement on Monday (10), which set out the income and expenditures of the Itukama Fund since its establishment in March 2020.
As per the statement, 23% of the collected monies has been utilised for various purposes, including to purchase ambulances and hospital beds, leaving a balance of Rs. 1.3 billion. The government has said that this will be used to fund the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive.
The PMD statement also noted that donations made by international financial institutions or organisations have not been added to the fund, as foreign aid and such donations are made to the Treasury.
On Wednesday (12), the Auditor General’s Department said it had begun auditing the ‘Itukama COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund’ on the request of the Presidential Secretariat. The audit will break down the expenditures of the Itukama account for the year 2020.