The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, announced in Parliament during the mid-year budget review on July 23, that the government intends to launch a GH¢100 billion economic recovery programme amid the coronavirus pandemic.“We have brainstormed over the crisis with the view of using the challenges it presents rather as an opportunity to transform Ghana and for all Ghanaians. I am happy to announce that in the coming weeks the President will launch a ¢100billion development programme. An ambitious and unprecedented three and half years programme called: Ghana CARES, “Obaatan Pa” which will anchor the comprehensive transformation of our society,” he stated.
The minister explained that the initiative was a well-crafted programme which would protect and secure jobs for thousands of Ghanaians amid the COVID-19 pandemic and Ghana will recover from the pandemic and thrive economically.
He said the programme, sequenced in two phases; a Stabilisation Phase that would run from July to the end of the year (2020); and a medium-term Revitalisation Phase, was a demonstration of government’s desire to drive local businesses and spur the realisation of the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
He noted that the stabilisation phase of CARES would ensure food security, protect businesses and worker incomes, strengthen the health system, attract private investments and support Ghanaian businesses.
Indeed, the Ghanaian Times is glad that the government has outlined an impressive economic recovery programme that is aimed at helping businesses recover from the negative impact of COVID-19.
Already, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) is reporting that about 115,000 businesses in the country have either permanently or temporarily closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related responses.
In a ‘Business Tracker’ survey reported by the media last week, the GSS also found out that more than 45,000 workers lost their jobs during the partial lockdown with workers in accommodation and food sectors worse hit while 770,000 workers of businesses had their wages reduced.
According to the media, the survey which was aimed at monitoring the impact of the pandemic on the private sector businesses, was conducted by the GSS, United Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank with technical support from the Innovation for Poverty Action (IPAP).
With these grim statistics, many are gripped with fear and uncertainty about the future of the economy and confidence in economic revival is waning. Currently, business/economic assurance has been overshadowed by fear which is only aggravating the prevailing uncertainty.
It is, therefore, a welcome news that, the government would roll out the GH¢ 100billion programme as part of extra effort to inject confidence into the economy.
It is also important for all to support the government to get the economy back on track and to prevent COVID-19 from pushing the country off its economic cliff.
We all agree that the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted enormous damage on the economies of the world and it is taking extra efforts of leaders to keep individual countries running.
While commending the government for the impressive economic recovery programme, we urge all Ghanaians to continue to adhere to the health and safety protocols in order to curb the virus to enable the country go back to normal times.