President Nana Akufo Addo
President Nana Akufo Addo

Government has announced a one-billion cedi stimulus package to households and businesses, particularly small and medium scale enterprises, under a Coronavirus Alleviation Programme.

President Nana Akufo-Addo, who announced this on Friday in a televised address on enhanced measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, said the Alleviation Programme was to address the disruption in economic activities, the hardship of the people, and to rescue and revitalize the industries.

“The Minister for Finance has been directed by me to prepare, for approval by Parliament, a Coronavirus Alleviation Programme to address the disruption in economic activities, the hardship of our people, and to rescue and revitalize our industries,” the President said.

Government, he said, was also providing additional relief, such as the extension of the tax filing date from April to June; a two percent reduction of interest rates by banks, effective 1st April, 2020; and the granting by the banks of a six-month moratorium of principal repayments to entities in the airline and hospitality industries.

“All other sector credit exposures will be reviewed on a case by case basis,” he said, adding that mobile money users could send up to one hundred cedis (GH¢100) for free; and a one hundred percent (100%) to three hundred percent (300%) increase in the daily transaction limits for mobile money transactions.

The commercial banks were also responding favourably to the recent 1.5 percent cut in Bank of Ghana’s policy rate and the two percent reduction in the reserve requirement with a three billion-cedi (GH¢3 billion) facility, to support industry, especially in the pharmaceutical, hospitality, service and manufacturing sectors.

While the Bank of Ghana had predicted a worst-case GDP growth rate of 2.5 percent for 2020, should the virus continue to linger for the rest of the year, the Government, the President said, knew how to bring back the economy to life.

“As we have demonstrated over the course of the last three years, where we inherited an economy that was growing at 3.4 percent and transformed it into one which has grown by an average of seven percent over the last three years, I assure you that we know what to do to bring back our economy back to life. What we do not know how to do is to bring people back to life,” President Akufo-Addo said.

It was, therefore, determined to do the imperative to save lives.

The President also announced the establishment of a COVID-19 Fund, to be managed by an independent board of trustees, and chaired by the immediate past Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, to receive contributions and donations from the public to assist in the welfare of the needy and the vulnerable.

“I have directed the Controller and Accountant General to pay my next three months’ salary, April, May and June, into this Fund,” he added.

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