In a bid to pursue an aggressive process of rebuilding the Ghanaian economy due to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, government has announced the setting up of a 100 billion Ghana cedi development programme known as the ‘Ghana Coronavirus Alleviation Revitalization of enterprises Support Program’.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, made this known when he delivered the 2020 Mid-year budget statement to Parliament on Thursday, July 23, 2020.
The initiative, which has been named the ‘Obaatanpa Programme’, is aimed at transforming the economy from its currents state and also cushion all sectors that have been hardly hit by the Coronavirus Pandemic.
“Mr. Speaker, we wish to take this opportunity to announce to the people of Ghana that their President and his team have done a lot of thinking since March. We have brainstormed over the crisis with the view of using the challenges it presents rather as an opportunity to transform Ghana and for all Ghanaians. I am happy to announce that in the coming weeks the President will launch a Gh¢100 billion development programme. An ambitious and unprecedented three and half years programme called: Ghana CARES, “Obaatan Pa” which will anchor the comprehensive transformation of our society.
The Minister noted that he would “request supplementary funding to support our priorities of saving lives and livelihoods, supporting businesses to ensure that the health of Ghanaians and their jobs are secure in these challenging times.”
He added that “the predicted long-lasting effect of this pandemic, amidst systemic shifts and uncertainties, suggest 2020 and beyond will be very challenging. Ghana will therefore need a continuity of courageous, compassionate and competent Government with a well-crafted programme to protect the lives of Ghanaians, safeguard jobs and support businesses to sustain operations during this period and especially in the four years ahead. This can only be possible with competent managers of the economy at the helm.”
According to Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, the 2020 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review and Supplementary Estimates is the first of government’s economic plans to reposition Ghana and Ghanaians to deal with the challenges posed by the pandemic and seize the opportunities it brings.
“Our response to this pandemic prioritizes the protection of our lives and livelihoods, sustains our business operations and sharpens our focus on Ghana’s future Beyond Aid.”
Gov’t restores free water for 3 more months; free power for lifeline consumers
Government has in a further effort to cushion Ghanaians from the impact of the novel Coronavirus pandemic restored the free water for all Ghanaians by three more months.
This comes after the free water and 50% reduction in electricity charges for three months ended at the end of June.
For electricity however, the government extended it by three more months only for lifeline consumers for the rest of the year 2020.
This was announced by the Finance Minister during the presentation of the 2020 Mid-year budget to Parliament where government asked for approval of GHS11.8 billion supplementary budget to support its expenditure for the rest of the year.
For the next six months, government has also reduced the Communication Service Tax, CST, also known as ‘Talk Tax’ from 9% to 5%, the establishment of a GH¢2 billion Guarantee Facility to support all sectors of business and job retention, establishment of an Unemployment Insurance Scheme, the creation of a GH¢100 Fund for Labour and Faith-based organisations for retraining and skills development.
The rest are an increase in the CapBuss Programme by GH¢150 million, to among other things facilitate credit of GH¢50 million to support the Creative Arts, the Media and the Conference of Independent Universities.