The Finance Committee of Parliament has granted approval to the Finance Ministry to access GH¢1.2 billion from the Contingency Fund to finance the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP).
The House was recalled from its indefinite suspension on Wednesday to listen the Minister’s presentation seeking authorisation to spend from the Contingency Fund.
Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah noted that Article 177(1) of the 1992 Constitution mandates the committee to grant approval of such nature without plenary approval.
The Finance Committee, he indicated, will therefore write to the Finance Minister authorizing him to spend the amount sought.
According to Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, GH¢280 million of the Fund will go into food packages and hotmeals while GH ¢40 million will be used to stock the National Buffer Stock Company.
An additional GH¢200 million will be used to cater for bills on water and sanitation, GH ¢241 will cover tax waiver for health personnel.
GH¢80 million will be spent on the allowance for health staff, GH¢2 million will be used to cover transportation for health workers and GH¢600 million will be disbursed as soft loans to businesses.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during his fourth address to the state on pandemic had directed the CAP to be prepared to mitigate disruption to economic activities.
This is expected to address the hardship imposed by the coronavirus pandemic and to rescue and revitalize industries that have fallen prey.
The President further directed a minimum of GHȼ1.0 billion to be made available to households and businesses, particularly micro, small and medium-size enterprises, as part of the initiative.
Mr. Ofori-Atta stressed that at the end of the pandemic, Ghana should have reinforced its identity as a nation that cares, a nation that visits the fatherless, widows and protects the poor and vulnerable.
“This is our most sacred duty and responsibility beyond the cold calculus of the economics.”
President Akufo-Addo’s address, he said, has removed any premonition of sinking into a Dante’s Inferno and reassured Ghanaians that they have a wartime leader to lead them to the promise land.
“A leader one can trust, a leader who we can pray and work with, a leader who will turn this ‘misadventure’ into a new vibrant industrial landscape,” he said.
The Minister urged Ghanaians to, as citizens, pull in one direction and hold together in the effort fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said, “We must hold up his hands to inspire us to defeat this virus. The Lord will make a way in this desert as He unfolds a new thing for the nation as stated in Isaiah 43.”