President Akufo-Addo says regardless of the effect Covid-19 has had on the country, he is confident the country will emerge from the pandemic with a stronger and more resilient economy.
Speaking at his first State of the Nation Address in his second term, he said government in 2020 took steps not only to support Ghanaian households but also businesses and protect the economy amid the pandemic.
“Indeed, the cost of Covid-19 has been enormous. Our overall economic growth rate for 2020 was revised downwards from 6.8% to 0.9%. The non-oil economy was also revised from 6.7% to 1.6%.”
“I indicated at the time that we know what to do to bring the economy back to life, what we do not know how to do is to bring people back to life. That is why government did not hesitate to institute measures to protect the lives and livelihoods of Ghanaians, even if it was to the temporary detriment of our much sought-after fiscal stability.”
Naming some of the interventions put in place to cushion the people and the economy President Akufo-Addo mentioned the provision of food packages and hot meals for residents in areas affected by the partial lockdown, provision of free water for all households, provision of free electricity for lifeline consumers and a 50% discount for all other consumers and reduction in the Communication Service Tax (CST) from 9% to 5%.
Others, he said, include the institution of a ¢750 million loan facility for micro, small and medium enterprises through the CAPBUS Initiative, and the provision of a ¢2 billion guarantee facility to support large businesses, such as schools and pharmaceutical companies.
He added that the Bank of Ghana and the Ghana revenue authority have also been supportive by also issuing some measures to protect businesses.
“Mr. Speaker, my Government found the resources to cushion the impact of the pandemic because we are good managers of the economy, and we are good protectors of the public purse.”
“We are confident that, together, we will emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic with a stronger and more resilient economy.”
President Akufo-Addo said that the pandemic has shown the government the need to expedite the process of moving Ghana to a situation beyond aid.
He stated that to achieve that government is implementing the GH¢100 billion Ghana CARES ‘Obaatampa’ Programme to transform, revitalise and modernise the economy, and return it to high and sustained growth for the next three years.
“The establishment of the National Development Bank, under the Ghana CARES programme, is expected to provide support to businesses in Ghana.”
“Government expects economic activity, which has already picked up, to do so even further, following the ongoing vaccination exercise, and the easing of restrictions put in place to curb the effects of the disease. We expect GDP growth to rebound strongly this year to nearly 5%, above the IMF’s 2021 January projection of 3.2% growth for Sub-Saharan Africa for 2021.”
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