A group of private sector business owners have come together to launch the Ghana Private Sector COVID-19 Fund to raise a minimum of 100 million Ghana Cedis to support government’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is in spite of the fact that government itself has set aside a stimulus package of One billion cedis to assist some categories of businesses affected by the situation.
Already, banks operating in the country have assisted government’s efforts with ten million cedis.
The 10 trustees of the Ghana Private Sector COVID-19 Fund, including the CEO of Tropical Cable and Conductor, Tony Oteng Gyasi, Chairman of Fidelity Bank, Edward Effah, CEO of Multimedia Group, Kwasi Twum, and Executive Chairman of Kleeve and Tove, Senyo Hosi among others, are contributing 100,000 cedis each as seed money to the fund.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative, the Chairman of Fidelity Bank Ghana, Edward Effah, said “As a result of everything going on around us, a number of Ghanaian businesses have come together through conversations and pondering what can we do to assist, and we came to the conclusion that we should all come together and establish the Ghana COVID-19 Private Sector Fund to complement our government’s efforts. I want to emphasize that we are apolitical as a group, Ghana is facing a crisis, and we’ve come together with the sole aim of contributing what we can towards this fight. This is a fight we believe the government of Ghana cannot fight alone. Already the pandemic is affecting Government revenues”.
According to Mr. Edward Effah, all the trustees have “committed to contribute a 100,000 each personally, which comes to a million cedis, and to also use their resources to raise a million cedis each, so we will have a seed fund of eleven million cedis to start. The purpose of the fund is to raise a minimum of a 100 million cedis from individuals and corporates to complement the initial effort by the trustees to support the government of Ghana’s fight against COVID-19.”
The trustees are Mr. Anthony Oteng Gyasi, Chairman of Tropical Cables and Conductor Limited, Mr. Edward Effah, Chairman, Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited, Mr. Kwaku Bediako, Founder and Director of CH Group, and Mr. John Taylor, CEO, Woodfields Energy Resources Limited.
The rest are Mr. Omane Frimpong, Chairman, Wilkins Engineering Limited, Mr. Kwame Ofosu Bamfo, Managing Director, Bamson Group, Mr. Kwabena Adjei, Group Chairman, Kasapreko, Mr. Thomas Svanikier, CEO, Svani Group, Mr. Kwasi Twum, CEO of Multimedia Group, and Mr. Senyo Kwasi Hosi, Executive Chairman, Kleeve and Tove Limited, who’s also CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, CBOD.
Public contribution to The Fund
Mr. Effah says they want the public to contribute towards the fund, hence their decision to set up the fund in a way that there will be maximum transparency and accountability.
“Consequently, we have appointed Standlib as the fund administrator. They will be responsible for administering the fund. Fidelity bank as the fund custodian; so the fund would be held with the bank; and other banks are welcome to open custody accounts and the trustees will appoint additional banks to also contribute toward this effort.”
“We have also appointed or nominated Ernst &Young as the auditor of the fund; so all contributors will be assured that the money will be used for the purpose for which the fund has been set up for; and the accounts would be audited.
Other support, transparency and accountability
He commended some partners who have offered their support to the Fund.
“In addition, I would like to thank a number of partners who have all agreed to support the fund on a pro-bono basis and other partners are welcome to join the effort. We have Dream oval, who are the technology partners and who are developing the website of the fund; and also all the collection of technology so that anybody can pay from any source or a variety of sources.”
“Global Media Alliance has offered to provide all the media support pro-bono, we look forward to welcoming other custodian banks and we have Bella, providing legal services, also on a pro-bono basis. We expect the fund website to be up in the next two days so that public individuals and cooperation will be able to contribute towards the fund through a variety of payments channels. All donations will be published to the website unless the donor requests anonymity.”
He also added that all disbursements will also be published on the website to ensure transparency.
He says the Fund will work with government to ensure that they offer the exact support needed by the state in the COVID-19 fight.
“Again, we are aware of a number of competing initiatives, but the government or Ghana needs to marshal all the resources it can gather so there is no competition. And others who have made direct donations are welcome, if other groups also want to have their own initiative, its welcome. However, we decided to come together because when we began the conversations; we found that amongst us as Ghanaian businesses, everybody wanted to donate personal protective equipment or water or something or the other; and if it’s not coordinated; the donations will not be useful because most people would want to go to 37 or Korle Bu.”
He added that, “There are many needs outside of Accra for example, and so it’s important that we work with the government, we prioritize what is needed; and we also share how we are going to tackle it. Otherwise we will get everybody taking one item and we have the excess of one item and the shortage of another. As much as possible; we will publish a lot of information on the website on what is needed maybe per region; what is needed by the Ghana Medical Association, what is needed among different hospitals, where the incidences are, where the cases are, so that we can target them; and can all contribute towards this fight”.
A Deputy Minister of Health, Alexander Abban, commended the private businesses for the initiative especially as the pandemic is also affecting their businesses negatively.
“This fund will help with protective gears and equipment to boost the confidence of the frontline health workers in the discharge of their duties”, he noted.
A Deputy Finance Minister, Charles Adu Boahen, also said, “the initiative by the private sector will be supported by the government to win the fight against coronavirus.”
To demonstrate his support of the initiative, he also donated three-months of his salary to the Ghana Covid-19 Private Sector Fund, and tasked the managers of the Fund to effectively coordinate and prudently allocate the resources to meet the expectations of the donors.