Government raises GH¢19.3 billion for COVID-19 response – Finance Minister

Government raises GH¢19.3 billion for COVID-19 response – Finance Minister
Government raises GH¢19.3 billion for COVID-19 response – Finance Minister

Africa-Press – Ghana. The Government raised GH¢19.3 billion in its efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, has disclosed.

He said to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on businesses and households, ensure that economic activities recover and minimise job losses, the Government mobilised GH¢18.19 billion out of the programmed GH¢19.3 billion in 2020 from various funding sources.

Mr Ofori-Atta stated this on Wednesday on the floor of Parliament, when he presented his statement to the House, dubbed “Statement to Parliament on the COVID-19 Expenditure 2020/2021”.

Details of the sources of funding included Government of Ghana Contingency Fund (Covid-19 Alleviation Programme) GH¢1.2 billion, World Bank Group Funds – Health Interventions GH¢1.3 billion, GARID CERT ($65 million) GH¢377 million, Fast Track COVID-19 Facility ($35 million) GH¢203 million, and Fast Track COVID-19 additional Facility ($130 million) GH¢754 million.

The sources of funding under the 2020 Budget Support programme included the International Monetary Fund (one billion dollars) GH¢5.9 billion, AfDB GH¢405.6 million, the European Union (EU) GH¢504 million, Bank of Ghana (BoG) COVID-19 Bonds GH¢10 billion.

Mr Ofori-Atta said Ghana recorded its first two cases on 12th March 2020, and that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, immediately put together a taskforce which spearheaded the development of a bold, comprehensive, and decisive strategy to ensure that we are not overwhelmed by the pandemic.

He said in line with this strategy, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy of Ghana was assessed and measures designed to address its immediate impacts.

He noted that however, the impact of the pandemic was even more severe than anticipated both globally and domestically; adding that it had upended and exposed the weaknesses in critical structures and systems in education, health, economic life and communities.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the pandemic triggered a sharp and heavy disruption in global supply chains as lockdowns and restrictions led to reductions in demand and production levels.

“Mr Speaker, this has required us to undertake major fiscal measures beyond what we programmed prior to the pandemic.

“To finance the additional expenditure such as support to households, engagement of additional health personnel deployment of security personnel at our borders to enforce the COVID-19 protocols, as well as the procurement of personal protective equipment, Government has had to adopt major fiscal measures to accommodate the increased expenditure and the shortfalls in revenue. Though our response was bold, decisive, and compassionate, it has also been costly.”

The Minister recalled that on 30th March 2020, he made a statement to Parliament on the Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Economy of Ghana, following which the implementation of the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) commenced.

He said furthermore, during the presentation of the 2020 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy, he indicated that the supplementary request included a programmed funding of GH¢19.3billion from various funding sources to support the budget both directly and indirectly.

Mr Ofori-Atta said on the expenditure side, an amount of GH¢11.16 billion was programmed for COVID -19 related expenses; stating that the difference of GH¢8.14 billion was programmed to provide for shortfalls in Revenue.

He said in 2021, the budget programmed a total amount of GH¢4,601 million for COVID-19 related expenses; declaring that “It is worth noting that the Ministry of Finance mobilized the needed financial resources, whilst the various COVID-19 interventions and related expenses were implemented by the relevant sector ministries and agencies”.

Touching on the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme, the Minister said the Government programmed funding of GH¢1.2 billion from the Contingency Fund, to finance the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme.

He reiterated that this programme focused on achieving five key objectives: Limit and stop the importation of the virus; contain its spread; provide adequate care for the sick; limit the impact of the virus on social and economic life; and inspire the expansion of our domestic capability and deepen national self-reliance.

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