Director for Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Prof Peter Quartey

Professor at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), has advised the Finance Ministry to provide financial support for employees of private business who have been made to stay home or out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Peter Quartey told Kojo Yankson, host of the Super Morning Show, Thursday, that if no financial support is provided for people who have lost jobs, the recession will get worse.

He said while resources are limited at this time, helping workers is not something the ministry can run away from.

“There are several people out there who have lost their means of livelihood. So, I think we should find the money. At least if you cannot match what is done in the advanced countries, we can do something.”

However, some have expressed that while policy to introduce a financial support plan for private business employees is on the Ministry’s agenda, finding money that will not increase the country’s debt stock still remains an issue.

Prof Quartey suggested that government can employ two options; to engage in concessional borrowing and to appeal to philanthropists in the private sector.

“We can borrow but it should be concessional borrowing and not from the capital market,” he said.

He explained that government can explore borrowing from bilateral and multilateral agencies that are more friendly in these circumstances. 

He also said that just as philanthropists have been donating PPEs to the Covid-19 Trust Fund, a similar fund can be set up specifically to support labour that is out of work.

“We have done all the other things, and that is commendable but for me, if we don’t solve this aspect, crime and other social vices will go up and we will go into a deeper recession than we estimate,” he said.