Tax Justice Coalition-Ghana (TJC), a non-profit organization, on Thursday urged the government to extend its relief package for the poor and vulnerable in the country for six months.

According to the coalition, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on low-income earners and needy persons across the country.

Speaking at a virtual meeting, Bernard Anaba, Policy Analyst and Deputy National Co-ordinator for the TJC, said such a move by the government will offer respite to the vulnerable.

He said, “Government should consider extending its social interventions such as utility reliefs for needy households, particularly targeting women, beyond the June 30, 2020 date for six months.”

Anaba explained many lifeline consumers of electricity who live in compound households, may not be able to enjoy the relief announced by the government because their consumption levels do appear deceptively higher and cannot qualify for that relief if measures are not taken to target such persons.

To further alleviate the burden on the poor and vulnerable, the TJC Deputy Co-ordinator asked the government to reach out to the African Union and international partners to lobby for an extension of the International Monetary Fund Debt Service Sustainability Initiative and use the savings from the initiative to improve the living conditions of the poor.

Anti-graft crusader and former Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative, Vitus Azeem, emphasized the pandemic has brought unexpected expenditure on the Ghanaian government, hence he suggested a three-month extension.

The West African country recorded its first two cases of COVID-19 on March 12 and subsequently, the government imposed a lockdown in four major towns, including the capital that were considered hotspots to contain the spread of the virus.

Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced a number of interventions including distribution of essential consumables for vulnerable communities, free supply of water and electricity for three months beginning April 1 to June 30. Enditem

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