The Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, says Ghana’s Economic Management Team and the Finance Ministry, has carried out adequate assessment of the economic impact of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
His comment comes after Ghana recorded its first two imported cases from Turkey and Norway, involving a Norwegian national and a Ghanaian.
The Information Minister says the assessment has selected areas of advantage that can be explored by the country to locally produce some basic things needed to fight the virus.
The coronavirus, which was declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, has so far claimed about five thousand lives across the world.
Globally, some flights have been halted, while some countries have restricted entry especially from countries considered as the epicenter of the disease.
Several high profile business events have been cancelled, leading to the loss of millions of dollars. The global restrictions also mean that in some countries, production has reduced as working hours have been reviewed drastically to contain the spread of the disease.
In China, the source of the disease, manufacturing has slowed down significantly, affecting its trading partners. Already, Ghanaian traders who rely on Chinese impacts are feeling the impact of the reduced activities in that country.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said measures have been put in place to tackle the economic impact that may hit the country.
“In fact, the Ministry of Finance has already done some work on the potential economic impact of this pandemic and is standing by to activate what maybe necessary in that instance”.
He added that “the Vice President and the Economic Management Team have received briefs from the Finance Ministry explaining the potential economic cost to the Republic and how we would have to work to mitigate that”.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah explained that government is not just looking at the negative impact of the spread of the virus on the global stage, but also considering prudent measures in situations that can be exploited to meet the country’s needs.
“Even on the flip side, the potential opportunities that this crisis also gives us has also been assessed,” he said.
He added that critical stakeholders in the health sector have already been contacted to help boost their capacity.
“The President mentioned it in his address that we are also engaging for example with the local pharmaceutical industry. We are commencing engagement with them. So that some of the things that we can also produce locally to help us in fighting the disease will be produced locally as possible”.
Outbreak of coronavirus in Ghana
Two cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 were confirmed in Ghana at an emergency press briefing on Thursday night, March 12, 2020.
The cases tested positive after laboratory tests from the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research.
According to the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, they were reported as ‘imported cases’ as both individuals returned to Ghana from Norway and Turkey.
$100m allocated for coronavirus fight – Nana Addo
In an address to the nation on Wednesday, 11th March 2020, the President Akufo-Addo said he has directed the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, to make available the cedi equivalent of US$100 million to enhance Ghana’s Coronavirus preparedness and response plan.
This amount, according to President Akufo-Addo, “is to fund the expansion of infrastructure, purchase of materials and equipment, and public education”.
He further explained that with the declaration by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the Coronavirus disease as a pandemic, it is important that Ghana steps up her preparedness to ensure that beyond the initial measures that have been put in place, a ‘whole of Ghana’ approach is adopted in preparation for a possible hit within the country’s borders.
Coronavirus statistics so far
Nearly 4,000 people have died globally, with China the source of the virus, and Italy being the most affected. Over 100,000 cases have been recorded in over 120 countries.
In Africa, there have been very few cases, with Egypt leading with 67 cases, followed by Algeria with 24. South Africa has 13 cases, Morocco six, Tunisia 7, Senegal 4, Burkina Faso 2, Nigeria 2, Togo 1, DR Congo 1, Cameroon 2, Gabon 1, and Cote D’Ivoire 1.
Ghana is the latest in Africa to record a case. Meanwhile there have been only three deaths so far in Africa, with one each recorded in Egypt, Morocco and Algeria respectively.