A number of emergencies have been identified and steps taken to address them in an attempt to mitigate the social and economic impact on people of Ghana. However, in the attempt to identify and attend promptly to emergencies, one important emergency, regarding the ‘LOCK DOWN’ of people’s investment with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seem to be forgotten.
While the concerned victims find it difficult to believe how such an important emergency could elude the government, it is still not out of place to think that in abnormal times like the Covid-19 pandemic era, government forgetfulness in this area is permissible.
In this connection, attention is being drawn of government to treat PAYMENT of peoples investment with SEC as a matter of EMERGENCY, just like other emergencies that are seriously receiving attention.
Let me begin by congratulating the government for the manly decisions coupled with pragmatic steps to give emergency issues the urgency they deserve. ‘If there is any Ghanaian both within and without the shores of the country who can boldly say he is oblivion to the good works the government has done and continue to do, that person may be taken for a JOKE’.
If you do not agree with me on this simple but truthful statement, just follow me if you can remember or even bear witness to the following emergency actions of the government since the upsurge of the Covid-19 in the country.
The closure of the country’s boarders were done on emergency to ensure prevention of imported cases into Ghana. Similarly, a Lock Down decision and action of GREATER ACCRA, GREATER KUMASI, TEMA and KASOA were all done on emergency to minimize the health, social and even economic impact of the Covid-19 on the people of Ghana.
Government under emergency instrument ordered for the provision of meals for those who are susceptible to the Corona virus effect so much so that they are unable to provide food for themselves.
This emergency action has gone a long way to help some Ghanaians in the meantime. The significance of this provision can be measured by how many politicians, religious leaders and opinion leaders followed the example by also providing food and other supplies to complement government effort in supporting the vulnerable in society.
The government directive to Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) to provide water to the Ghanaian public for free for three months – March to May 2020, and subsequently directing Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to refund 50% of customers’ consumption based on march billing history for three months, cannot be ignored as some of the government emergency provisions to mitigate the economic pressure that has been introduced by the Covid-19.
As businesses continue to have their share of the indiscriminate effect of the coronavirus outbreak, another emergency provision is in the offing, as the government approves a 600 million cedis stimulus package for the business community to minimize the economic impact on them.
Even where government does not have direct control on certain actions of a section of the country, there is appeal to companies and individuals to do what they possibly can to lesson the economic and social impact on their employees or clients. For example, there are continuous appeals to companies not to lay their workers off if it is possible; to banks and other financial institutions, to if possible, delay recovery of loans of clients in the mean time to ease the economic pressure; and to landlords/land ladies, a humble appeal has gone to them to postpone taken rent from tenants who are unable to pay their rent because of the coronavirus pandemic for a while.
Time will not allow me to list all the things that the government has done and continue to do and even encourage other companies and able-individuals to do under emergency to help manage the effects of Covid-19.
Probably at this point even critics can now appreciate my earlier statement, ‘If there is any Ghanaian both within and without the shores of the country who can boldly say he is oblivion to the good works the government has done and continue to do, that person may be taken for a JOKE
Clearly, emergency conditions under this Covid-19 era calls for emergency solutions as illustrated by the government’s decisive actions and implementation of some emergency programmes which have come along with a few usual challenges.
Instead of bitterly criticizing every hitch, it is better to give constructive recommendations or even remind government of what they seem to forget.
It is in the spirit of objective reminder that the government’s attention is being drawn to the fact that some people who are being economically-affected seriously by the ravages of the Covid-19, some of whom may even be in the same category as those the government intends to support with the stimulus package, HAVE THEIR INVESTMENT LOCKED DOWN WITH SEC.
Treatment of payment of these investment as an emergency to receive the same attention, if not superior attention, to some of the few emergencies that have been mentioned above, is worth reminding the government at this time when the government is genuinely bombarded with several and varying other emergencies.
Remember that some of the people that have been declared vulnerable and are being given food and other supplies by the government could take care of themselves had their funds in investment been paid to them.
Also, some of the businesses that will receive government’s disbursement of the ¢600 million cedis package might not necessary have been in need of such assistance had their investment not been locked down at SEC.
Some of the people in the private sector, including the private schools who are crying on the shoulders of government to provide economic intervention, might probably be in the position to face the economic pressure to a reasonable degree if their funds with SEC had been paid to them
Perhaps the few points elucidated confirms the emergency nature of paying people’s investment with SEC to them with all the urgency it needs as government is carefully and lovingly reminded of such an important action such as this.
I hope this reminder gets attention of government and an immediate action taken, for it can do a lot of good to minimize the economic impact of the Covid-19 on these vulnerable investors and even the government.