President Akufo-Addo will in the coming days announced a GHC100 billion programme for Ghana’s economic recovery post-coronavirus.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, revealed this on the floor of Parliament while presenting the 2020 Mid-Year Budget Review on Thursday.
The Minister said the amount is to help get the economy back on track.
He said the GHC 100 billion scheme was christened: The Covid-19 Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprises Support (CARES) Programme.
According to him, “The experience of this pandemic has come along with real lessons that have implications for Ghana’s socio-economic development.”
He said “COVID-19 has taught us that a lot of the things we did not believe possible are possible.
The enticing emergency social support and economic stimulus packages announced by G20 and OECD countries must ignite our passions for our country and re- energize our efforts to create prosperity for all our people.”
“I believe we must not waste this pandemic. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to really effect and deliver an enduring transformational change. We are called upon to remove the unspoken limits on our ambitions and critically examine all the boundaries we imposed on ourselves.”
“We must have courage and be audacious in repositioning Ghana and Ghanaians, not only to mitigate this pandemic, but to implement programmes that will transform our country.
We should change our approach to our development and dare to do the impossible.
Under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo, and informed by broad consultations, we have prepared the Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (Ghana CARES) Obatanpa Programme for this very purpose.”
He added that “the Ghana CARES Obatanpa programme is an unprecedented, bold and audacious GHȼ100 billion programme for us to re-imagine and re-envision our future like never before. It is sequenced in two phases: a Stabilisation Phase that runs from July to the end of the year (2020); and a medium-term Revitalisation Phase will accelerate the Ghana Beyond Aid transformation agenda.”
He noted that the stabilisation phase of CARES will ensure food security, protect businesses and worker incomes, strengthen the health system, attract private investments and support Ghanaian businesses.
“Government will intensify support for farmers through the Planting for Food and Jobs and Rearing for Food and Jobs programmes. We will aggressively facilitate access to financing for rice millers to enable them to purchase paddy from rice farmers. In addition, we will provide financial support to the National Buffer Stock Company and Ghana Commodity Exchange to enable them store and trade stocks as needed to smoothen out supplies on the market.”
“Government will inject liquidity into the system to ease cash flow difficulties of businesses and protect workers by honouring obligations to contractors and suppliers in a timely manner.
Building on recent good experience of sourcing from the pharmaceuticals and textile & garment sectors, Government will expand procurement from local producers for its goods and services.”
“We are mindful of the fact that some businesses may have to shed some labour in order to survive. In the unlikely event that this happens, Government, through the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR), will collaborate with the Social Partners (Labour and Employers) to establish a National Unemployment Insurance Scheme. The scheme will provide temporary income support to workers that are laid off and also provide them access to re-training to help them take advantage of employment opportunities in new fields.”
He further noted that Government will soon roll out an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan II, which will enable us to continue strengthening the health system.
“ Mr. Speaker, Government will, over the course of this year, work with this august House to pass a number of legislations that will provide a strong framework to raise the funds, attract the investments necessary for the revitalisation and transformation phase of CARES and rationalise and strengthen support to SMEs. These will include Bills on tax exemptions, public-private partnerships (PPPs), the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Development Finance Institutions, Home Ownership Financing andEnterprise Ghana.
“Over the medium-term (2021 to 2023), Government’s plan is to implement a phase 2 of Ghana CARES which will revitalise and transform the economy. The main focus will be to accelerate the implementation of the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.”
The Minister further indicated that “in our economic revitalisation and transformation, Government will, take resolute measures to improve the business environment for the private sector. Specific measures to be implemented include significant improvements in business regulations and their implementation, digitisation to improve quality and transparency of public service delivery, expanding access to finance for Ghanaian business, skills training, and energy sector reform.
“ Mr. Speaker, we all know that a plan is only as good as its implementation; it is not enough just to raise the money. So, for the CARES Programme, execution, execution, and execution, will have to be the watchwords. The CARES Revitalisation & Transformation agenda is about national survival and security, just like our response to the COVID-19 pandemic itself.
Therefore, we need to approach it as such, with a resolute focus on implementation. We will have to pursue a “Whole-of-Government” approach, and in close collaboration with and support to the private sector. And we will make sure they happen!”