The Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah, is advocating for a collaborative system between government and telecommunication providers to make cash transfers to the most vulnerable segments in the society as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic worsens.
His call comes of the back of concerns by some telecommunication providers about the rise in data use as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced more people to stay at home.
Government through the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme intends to provide support to businesses and households reeling under the effects of the pandemic.
Speaking to Citi Business News, the New Juaben South MP indicated that the data for such an exercise should not be difficult to come by.
“You start off with baseline data on the poor, the aged, the vulnerable, and those who really need help. The Ghana Statistical Service is also helping to churn out some good data. Once you have the data then you can get some information from the telecommunication providers, then at the press of a button you can make transfers to all of these people,” he said.
Government has already announced some initiatives including the non-payment of water tariffs for three months by all Ghanaians, a billion cedis package for Ghanaians and struggling businesses, and a GHS 600 million loan support scheme for Small and medium scale enterprises.
Gov’t engages telcos to reduce cost of data over COVID-19 impact
Last week, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, announced that government is engaging telcos operating in the country to reduce the cost of data as part of several fiscal measures to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
He made the announcement whiles addressing Parliament on fiscal measures being taken by government to lessen the pressure of the pandemic on people and businesses.
Following the pandemic, government has closed down all schools and banned public gatherings including religious activities, while several organizations have asked their staff to work from home to observe the social distancing practice to prevent the spread of the virus.
Currently, Tema, Accra, Kasoa and Kumasi are observing two-week partial lock-down which has forced more people to stay home or work from home.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications is urging the public to adopt responsible internet etiquette and be responsible and rational in use of telecommunications networks and the internet, as the novel Coronavirus continues to spread.