Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

The Finance Ministry has announced that it is in talks with various trade associations and unions, to discuss how best the informal sector can benefit from a financial relief package the government has allocated to help save the demographic in the sector.

Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile, Saturday, Ken Ofori-Atta said that the funds will be used to support people who have been identified as those who earn money on a daily basis, contributing to the informal sector.

“We are looking at the various trade associations as channels and for that, we’ll see how the package may be able to help,” he told Host of the programme, Samson Lardy Anyenini.

Prior to the partial lockdown of hotspots in Accra and Kumasi, the consensus of the impact on the informal sector among experts was that the sector will suffer greatly because it makes up 88% of the Ghanaian workforce.

However, additional questions have been raised about the unavailability of data that illustrates the exact number of people belonging to this demographic and therefore, successful and efficient help cannot be provided to people of the informal sector due to lack of data.

“Data is a problem. We just got through Parliament that the $150million be allocated to support Ghana Statistical Service. For data, God-willing, the census this year will be targeted at also answering some of,” those questions about the sector, the Minister said.

Mr. Ofori-Atta believes alternatively, that the gaps in the country’s economy the pandemic has highlighted, present an opportunity to innovatively transform them into a formal sector.

“The issue about digitalisation is just going to be crucial and really, our own selves in terms of our integrity and our honesty and how, for all of us to become formal in these circumstances,” the economist added. 

“This is an apocalyptic experience of no known proportion so it is going to take some thought-provoking and deep search into our own, as a people and how all of us must be in the arena and fight for the humanity of our country, knowing that each citizen is precious.

“It will generate some thinking as to further protection of our people, going forward.”