Government is set to roll out a soft loan scheme of up to six hundred million Ghana cedis for small to medium scale enterprises following the economic impact of the novel coronavirus, President Nana Akufo-Addo has announced.
Addressing Ghanaians in a nationwide broadcast on Sunday [April 5, 2020] on further measures to mitigate the spread of the virus in the country, President Akufo-Addo said the scheme will sustain the country’s affected industries and address the distraction in economic activities caused by the pandemic.
“Government, in collaboration with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Business & Trade Associations and selected Commercial and Rural Banks, will roll out a soft loan scheme up to a total of six hundred million cedis (GH¢600 million), which will have a one-year moratorium and two-year repayment period for micro, small and medium scale businesses,” he said.
With the impact of the coronavirus since it’s outbreak in December, 2019, in Wuhan China, having a serious impact on the global economy, policymakers across the world are looking for ways to respond by putting in place measures which come with difficult economic trade-offs.
Nana Addo announces GHS1bn stimulus for businesses
With the cumulative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic expected to cost Ghana GHS9.505 billion, President Akufo-Addo already announced that all households and small to medium scale enterprises are to benefit from a stimulus package of one billion Ghana cedis.
He also announced the establishment of a COVID-19 Trust Fund which he says has so far received GHS8,750,000 in donations.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, also petitioned Parliament for an amendment of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) to allow government utilize portions of the Ghana Heritage Fund to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Bank of Ghana also directed all financial institutions operating in the country to take adequate steps to help curtail the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, after it reduced the Monetary Policy Rate from 16 to 14.5%, which is expected to cause a reduction in banks’ interest rates.
Externally, the International Monetary Fund has indicated that it is working hard to evaluate a request by Ghana seeking financial assistance to help the country address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The World Bank is also providing $100 million to Ghana to assist the country in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. This $100 million will be made available to the government and the people of Ghana as short, medium and long-term support.
Current Situation in the country
Currently, Accra, Tema and Kumasi are under a two-week partial lockdown which started on Monday, March 30, but the President says the government will determine whether or not to extend the lockdown later this week.
So far, Ghana has recorded 214 COVID-19 cases with 5 deaths and 3 recoveries. Six regions have so far recorded cases of the virus.
The Greater Accra Region has most of the cases with 189 followed by the Northern Region with 10, the Ashanti Region with 12, the Upper West Region with one, Upper East Region with one and the Eastern Region one.