Government is set to implement a Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) with an initial amount of GH¢1 billion to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on businesses and households.
The initiative is part of measures being pursued by government to reduce the devastating effect of COVID-19 on the economy.
Other measures include the establishment of a COVID-19 Fund to receive contributions and donations from the public to support the CAP and to assist in the welfare of the needy and the vulnerable.
Minister for Finance Ken Ofori Atta disclosed the new initiative in a statement to Parliament on Monday 30th March 2020.
According to him, the government is determined to support Ghanaian households and revitalize industries and services.
He stressed that since the state is facing extraordinary circumstances that require extraordinary measures, the government is considering a number of measures for consideration and support of the House.
The government, he said, will lower the cap on the Ghana Stabilization Fund (GSF) from the current US$300 million to US$100 in accordance with section 23 (3) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA).
“This measure will enable the excess amount in the GSF account over the US$100 million cap to be transferred into the Contingency Fund, consistent with Section 23 (4) of the PRMA.”
“The amount transferred into the Contingency Fund will be used to fund the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP).”
“Through this process, an estimated GHȼ1,250 million will be transferred into the Contingency Fund to Fund the CAP,” he disclosed.
“Mr. Speaker we, therefore, wish to seek approval from this August House for the Finance Minister to use the Funds which will be available in the Contingency Fund to fund the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme,” he added.
Mr. Ofori-Atta explained that the government will also realign Statutory Funds towards expenditures that will mitigate the impact of the pandemic and limit the award of new contracts while focusing on the payment of arrears.
He disclosed that the Ministry and Bank of Ghana (BoG) have engaged Commercial Banks to discuss their support to the private sector, which include a syndication facility of GHȼ3 billion to support industry especially in the pharmaceutical, hospitality, service and manufacturing sectors.
Other arrangements, he said, are for the BoG to defer payments on non-marketable instruments estimated at GHȼ1,222.8 million to 2022 and beyond.
“Adjust expenditures on Goods & Services and Capex downwards by GHȼ1,248 million; Secure the World Bank DPO of GHȼ1,716 million; Secure the IMF Rapid Credit Facility of GHȼ3,145 million; and Reduce the proportion of Net Carried and Participating Interest due to GNPC from 30% to 15%,” he stated.
The Minister assured that the government is committed to providing relief and resources to the Ghanaian people and businesses in order to overcome the pandemic.
He said, “We all need to make some sacrifices, especially to our personal freedom in our fight against this coronavirus menace. “
“The virus thrives on indecision and complacency but it fails where responsible leadership triumphs and with this I mean leadership at every level, not just from the President, not just from this August House, but from all of us as Ghanaians – leadership from Government, leadership at work, from both employers and employees, and at home, from young and old.”
“We are all responsible and every Ghanaian must show leadership in exercising self-discipline and civic responsibility. That is the only way we can defeat this virus,” he advised.