The Finance Minister is to seek the approval of Parliament to spend one billion cedis under a Coronavirus Alleviation Programme to cushion Ghanaians as government tightens measures to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Announcing the package on Friday evening, President Akufo-Addo said the amount would mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus on businesses and households and ensure that job losses are minimized.
The president has declared a two-week restriction of movements in some selected metropolitan and district assemblies in four cities in the country to control the spread of Covid-19 starting Monday.
“The Minister for Finance…will, then, immediately make available a minimum of one billion cedis (GH¢1 billion) to households and businesses, particularly small and medium scale enterprises,” President Akufo-Addo revealed.
The president added that “commercial banks are, in addition, responding to the Bank of Ghana’s 1.5% decrease in the Policy Pate and 2% in reserve requirement with a three billion-cedi (GH¢3 billion) facility, to support industry especially in the pharmaceutical, hospitality, service and manufacturing sectors.”
He also announced the provision of additional relief, such as extension of the tax filing date from April to June; a two percent (2%) reduction of interest rates by banks, effective 1st April, 2020; the granting by the banks of a six (6) month moratorium of principal repayments to entities in the airline and hospitality industries, i.e. hotels, restaurants, car rentals, food vendors, taxis, and uber operators.
President Akufo-Addo also assured that “All other sector credit exposures will be reviewed on a case by case basis; mobile money users can send up to one hundred cedis (GH¢100) for free; and a one hundred percent (100%) to three hundred percent (300%) increase in the daily transaction limits for mobile money transactions.”
Meanwhile, he has reemphasized that the ban on public gatherings, religious or social, is still in force.
“Anyone, irrespective of status, religion or ethnicity, who is found to be flouting them will be dealt with fully in accordance with law. The security services have been clothed with the necessary power to enforce these measures, and I assure you that they will do so responsibly, but without fear or favour, ill-will or malice.”