Per Section 28 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta presented the Mid-year and Supplementary Budget Review in Parliament on Thursday, 23 July.
Ghana CARES Obaatanpa Programme
According to the Finance Minister, “we must have the courage and be audacious in repositioning Ghana and Ghanaians, not only to mitigate this pandemic but to implement programmes that will transform our country.”It is, for this reason, the Government of Ghana prepared the Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (Ghana CARES) Obaatanpa Programme which would be executed in two phases: a Stabilisation Phase and a Revitalisation Phase over the next three and half years.
The Ghana CARES Obaatanpa Programme is a ¢100 billion development initiative designed by the government to get the economy back on track given the impact COVID-19 has had on all aspects of the country’s economic sectors.
“The stabilisation phase of CARES Obatanpa Programme will ensure food security, protect businesses and worker incomes, strengthen the health system, attract private investments and support Ghanaian businesses.” Ken Ofori-Atta said.
This phase for the next 6 months will thus involve:
- Establishing a National Unemployment Insurance Scheme that will provide temporary income support to workers that are laid off as well as re-training access to help them take advantage of other employment opportunities.
- Reducing Communication Service Tax by 4%
- Establish a GH¢2 billion Guarantee Facility to support all sectors of business and job retention.
- Shoring up The Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) Business Support Scheme by GH¢150 million.
- Create a GH¢100 Fund for Labour and Faith-based organisations for retraining and skills development
- Retain provision of free water for the next three months
- Retain free electricity for all life-line customers for the rest of the year.
The “Revitalization Phase…will revitalize and transform the economy” with the key focus on accelerating the execution of the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda. “It is about national survival and security,” the Finance Minister said.
This will involve:
- digitisation to improve quality and transparency of public service delivery,
- expanding access to finance for Ghanaian business, skills training, and energy sector reform.
- improvements in business regulations and their implementation.
This is quite an elaborate and ambitious program that will demand thoughtful execution. Ken Ofori-Atta couldn’t have put it any better when he said “we all know that a plan is only as good as its implementation; it is not enough just to raise the money. So, for the Ghana CARES Programme, execution, execution, and execution, will have to be the watchwords.”