Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has revealed that the lockdown was not extended because the policy had a dire impact on the informal economy.
The impact, according to Mr Ofori-Atta made it impossible to continue with the lockdown directive.
Speaking at the launch of MASLOC’s integrated ICT system, Mr Ofori-Atta said the decision to lockdown also revealed the vulnerabilities of the economy.
He said, “We are truly at a critical juncture, giving where we are with Covid and really the vulnerabilities that we have seen revealed because of the experiences that we are going through.”
Mr Ofori-Atta said “It is quite humbling because you look at 23% of our population that earns below maybe $400 a year and you look at what happened with the lockdown, it was quite clear at a point that giving that 90% of our population is informal and they go out each day to earn wages, it became increasingly impossible to continue with such a policy and therefore even as there was reason to unlock ourselves but not let down the protocols, we have to search deep on how we bring resources and help people to be able to do their work on a daily basis.”
On the need for Ghana’s economy to be digitalized, Mr Ofori-Atta said “Our vice president has been championing the issue of digitalization and it’s for a good reason that he’s been doing that because some research indicates that Africa’s GDP could increase by 300 billion by 2025 if we digitalized as a continent and you can see increased of 10% of GDP because of digitalization. In South Africa, they were able to reduce cost of about 22% so imagine what that will do for us.”
Launching the Integrated ICT System which automates all the operations of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) in the country at the Jubilee House, Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia this is an information technology solution that would address payment and settlement challenges of MASLOC and bring an air of efficiency into its operations of MASLOC.
The platform which is a collaboration between the centre, the ARP Apex bank and designed by the Eban Capital, the software providers automates end to end process of credit management, loan application, credit assessment, disbursement of loan, loan repayment and monitoring and reporting all to make loan assessable.
To apply, applicants would need a business name, Tax Identification Number (TIN), a digital address, passport picture and a valid identity card among others.
The Vice President commended the board and CEO of MASLOC FOR the move because it was in line with the President’s vision to digitise government operations as possible and all aspects of the economy to make Ghana the most business-friendly economy.
He said before the Covid-19 had government had embarked on aggressive digitization but the pandemic had reaffirmed the position of the President that building a digital economy was the way go adding that “the covid-19 had been destructive in many ways but distractive events can catalyze change for the better”.