Opinions Tue, 7 Apr 2020

Coronavirus: Happy but worried about the President's 5th coronavirus update - Isaac Batowiise Bening writes

Listening to President Nana Akufo-Addo deliver his 5th COVID-19 update to the nation was a bit of mix feeling for me.

With all intention and purpose, I think the President is doing everything humanly possible to stay relevant to us with his usual short term and an ill-prepared plethora of promises.

Out of the President's key points, only a few (about 2) partly resonates with some of the citizenry. I am referring to the 50% basic salary as allowance and the three (3) months tax holidays for all frontline health workers. I ask myself, are these the only things Government can do for these frontline health workers? Not forgetting how these workers are putting their lives at risk for these COVID-19 patients.

With regards to the promise of GHS600m soft loan scheme for small businesses, would this soft loan go to the right businesses? Do we even have that amount there? Considering our President going to the World Bank for $100 million loan to fight COVID-19. Would the disbursement of the said amount if any be done from the NPP party headquarters to appease party foot soldiers? Anyway, once bitten, twice shy.

What about the promise of government absorbing water bills for the next three (3) months? I am wondering who stands to benefit from this promise too? Just a few privileged ones. How about the poor who do not have water connected to his ghetto? Seeing how greedy Ghanaians are, would the poor be allowed to fetch water free from his neighbor's water tap?

My humble suggestion to Government on absorbing the three (3) months water bills is that the Government should send and supply water via water tankers to targeted poor neighborhoods in order for them to use during this period.

Disbursement of the GHS600m soft loan scheme (if any) for small businesses should be done in consultation and collaboration with all identifiable business groupings like Ghana National Chamber of Commerce, Association of Ghana Industries, etc.

I shall return.

Columnist: Isaac Batowiise Bening
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