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US$100m fund to fight COVID-19 ready, GHS1bn for SMEs – Ofori-Atta



US0m fund to fight COVID-19 ready, GHS1bn for SMEs – Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta says the US$100 million fund to fight the COVID-19 pandemic has been received and is available for disbursement in accordance with the public financial management procedures and rules.

“Contrary to views of some sceptics that the money is not available, I wish to assure you that the money has been secured and is available to be disbursed in accordance with our public financial management procedures and rules. 

“Indeed, from day one, government has not stopped spending in the fight against Covid-19”, he mentioned in Parliament today.

According to him, the President’s instructions to his Economic Management Team is clear, and it is how to reduce the accumulation of economic scar tissue from this disease.

“The President is determined to cushion the economic and social difficulties this coronavirus is visiting on Ghanaian businesses and people.

“Our task, therefore, is to minimise the huge threat of job losses and the impact of job losses.  The President and his team are thinking outside the box to ensure that that the principles of fiscal discipline are not jettisoned and, yet, still ensuring that people have money to spend”.

He added that government’s plan is to ensure that essential public investments are not mightily compromised; whiles, at the same time, enabling significant increase in spending on health.

Beyond that, he said government is committed to using this unprecedented challenge to the Ghanaian economy and society as rather an opportunity to fast-track even more agenda to industrialize and become self-reliant.

“Mr Speaker, that is why, to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on businesses and households and ensure that economic activities are sustained, whiles minimizing job losses, the President on Friday, March 27, 2020, announced the establishment of a Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP).”

Also, GHS1 billion (US$219m) upon approval by Parliament from the Stabilization Fund will be disbursed to provide maximum results in alleviating the impact of the coronavirus pandemic with a focus on protecting against job losses, protecting livelihoods, supporting small businesses, and ensuring the programme is efficiently and sustainably implemented.

The CAP, according to the Finance Minister, will seek additional funding for the following purposes; promotion of selected industries to shore up production for export and import substitution, to support SMEs and create jobs, to partner with Pension Funds and Insurance Funds to create guarantees and first loss instruments.

The Finance Minister is due to begin, speedily and responsibly, the process of disbursing the funds, immediately the amount is approved by Parliament.


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