Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has warned that there are tough times ahead, as a result of the economic wreckage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and, thus, noted that it is important Ghanaians keep the current government in power to continue with its strategies and measures outlined to restore the economy to health.
While presenting the 2020 mid-year budget review to Parliament on Thursday, 23 July 2020, Mr Ofori-Atta said “the predicted long-lasting effects of this pandemic, amid systemic shifts and uncertainties, suggests 2020 and beyond, will be very challenging”.
“Ghana will, therefore, need the continuity of a courageous, compassionate and competent government with a well-crafted programme to protect the lives of Ghanaians, safeguard jobs and support businesses during this period, and, especially in the four years ahead”, he pointed out, adding: “This can only be possible with competent economic management of the economy with we being at the helm”.
Mr Ofori-Atta also said: “We [New Patriotic Party] have proven over and over again that we are better managers of the economy”.
He explained: “Together, we took Ghana out of HIPC and placed it among lower-middle-income countries within a decade. Together, we recovered and revitalised a critically-weakened economy and today, we can now attract global automobile companies in just three years of returning to office. Together, once again, we’ll optimise the opportunities presented by this pandemic and build a sustainable future for Ghanaians”.
“In the now-famous words of President Akufo-Addo, we know how to bring the economy back to life. Therefore, this 2020 mid-year fiscal policy review is the first of our economic plans to reposition and Ghanaians to deal with the challenges posed by the pandemic and seized the opportunities it presents”, he said.
He said the government’s response to the pandemic “prioritises the protection of our lives and livelihoods, sustaining our business operations and sharpening our focus on Ghana’s future beyond aid”.
Mr Ofori-Atta also announced that President Nana Akufo-Addo will, in the next few weeks, launch a GHS100-billion economic recovery programme.
“Mr Speaker, we wish to take this opportunity to announce to the people of Ghana that the President and his team have done a lot of thinking since March and brainstormed over the crisis, with the view of using the challenges it presents, rather as an opportunity to transform Ghana and for all Ghanaians”, Mr Ofori-Atta told Parliament.
“I’m happy to announce that in the coming weeks, the President will launch a GHS100-billion development programme, an ambitious and unprecedented three-and-a-half year programme called Ghana Coronavirus Alleviation Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (Ghana CARES)”, he said.
He noted that the Ghana CARES programme, also known as ‘Obatanpa’ programme, is aimed at “anchoring the comprehensive transformation of our society”.
As part of the economic recovery measures, Mr Ofori-Atta also told Parliament that: “Mr Speaker, I’ll also 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”.