Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance

Finance Minister Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta has laid a $35 million financing agreement before Parliament to finance the Ghana COVID-19 emergency preparedness and response project.The facility, to be provided by the World Bank Group, is part of the $100 million that government is seeking to reinforce the country’s preparedness and response against the spread of the Coronavirus.

Deputy Minister of Finance, Mrs. Abena Osei-Asare, laid the agreement on behalf of the Minister during Saturday’s sitting and was subsequently referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report by the Speaker.

President Nana Addo Dannkwa Akufo-Addo in a state address earlier this month announced the release of $100 million to enhance the country’s preparedness and response plan towards the prevention of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).The fund is expected to be used to finance the expansion of infrastructure, purchase materials, and equipment, and conduct extensive public education.

The declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), he said, requires the country to step up its precautionary preparedness against the infection.The preparedness, the President indicated, was to enable the country to move steps beyond the initial measures that had been put in place so that a “whole of Ghana approach” was adopted in preparation for an outbreak within the country’s borders.

On March 17, 2020, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta told the House that though the outbreak is still unfolding, the preliminary analysis undertaken by the Finance Ministry indicated the disease would impact negatively on petroleum receipts due to the collapse of international crude oil prices, customs receipts, expenditures especially health-related and financing conditions on the fiscal front.

The outbreak, he stressed, would also affect tourism, travel and conferences, foreign direct investments, international trade, food and nutrition, and poverty reduction.The Minister stressed that the measures being put in place are to close a possible financing gap in the 2020 budget that could result from the impact of the disease including withdrawal from the Ghana stabilization fund occasioned by an anticipated shortfall in Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA)The government, he said, was discussing with the World Bank to tap into a $12 billion World Bank Group fast track COVID-19 facility to help close the financing gap.

“In addition, we are discussing with the International Monetary Fund to access part of a $10 billion facility made available by the fund to address Coronavirus through Rapid Credit Facility.“We are also discussing with other multilateral and bilateral partners on potential assistance to close the financing gap,” he said.