President Nana Akufo-Addo has announced the establishment of a Covid-19 Fund in Ghana.
Headed by former Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, the fund is to receive public donations to help improve the lives of the underprivileged in the country who will be hard-hit by the viral disease.
This was announced in a late-night address to the nation on Friday, March 27, 2020 to declare a two-week partial lockdown of Accra, Tema and Kumasi.
As a show of commitment, the President has donated his April, May and June salaries as seed capital for the Covid-19 fund.
“I am announcing tonight the establishment of a COVID-19 Fund, to be managed by an independent board of trustees, and chaired by former Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, to receive contributions and donations from the public to assist in the welfare of the needy and the vulnerable.
“I have directed the Controller and Accountant General to pay my next three months’ salary, i.e. April, May and June, into this Fund,” he said.
The President used the opportunity to thank the churches and financial institutions who have already donated to help in this fight.
GH₵1b stimulus package
In addition to the Covid-19 fund, he tasked 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.
President Akufo-Addo says the amount will mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus on businesses and households and ensure that job losses are minimized.
“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 announced.
“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 GH₵3 billion facility, to support industry especially in the pharmaceutical, hospitality, service and manufacturing sectors”, he added.
Furthermore, the President also announced the provision of additional relief, such as extension of the tax filing date from April to June.
Again, effective April 1, 2020, there will be a two percent reduction of interest rates by banks, a six-month moratorium of principal repayments to entities in the airline and hospitality industries by the banks
“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”, he assured.
Ghana’s situation with Covid-19
Ghana’s case is getting scarier by the minute, considering the rate of infection as compared to countries like Italy, Spain, the UK and the US.
So far, the country has recorded 137 case, including 4 deaths and two recoveries, as the last update this morning, March 27, 2020.
Donations to Covid-19 fight
Several individuals and religious and corporate organisations have donated hand sanitizers, personal protective equipment (PPEs), among others.
Dr Osei Kwame Despite, owner of the Despite Media Group, has donated $100,000 in Cash to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi to help combat the disease.
Some financial institutions such as the Fidelity Bank, CBG, UBA, Republic Bank, just to mention a few have all announced stimulus packages to cushion their clients.
The celebrities in the country have also not been left out of the donation, as a number of them have been seen sharing hand sanitizers, liquid soaps, PPEs.
Notable among them are Asamoah Gyan, Stonebwoy, Medikal, and Crisswaddle.