President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday outlined some of the key programmes his government is rolling out to help businesses get back on their feet to overcome the pandemic’s negative economic impact.
In a speech delivered on his behalf by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta at this year’s Ghana Economic Forum in Accra, President Akufo-Addo specifically mentioned the GH¢100billion Ghana CARES fund that will expectedly be used to support businesses of all sizes in reviving their operations.
“The GH¢100billion Obaatanpa Ghana CARES programme will ensure that micro, small, medium and large enterprises will be catered for,” he stated.
At the same event, the UN Resident Coordinator Charles Abani said their rough calculations suggest that the country needs about US$4.4billion to close a post-COVID financing gap, as well as to finance its economic response and recovery programme – CARES.
Mr. Abani said the UN supported government in its emergency preparedness and response plan to protect lives, and is poised to roll out the UN Socioeconomic Response and Recovery Plan (SERRP) to support government’s ‘Obatanpa’ CARES programme.
Through SERRP, the UN is aligning and repurposing US$91,057,088 of existing funds and committing to raise an additional US$39,187,871 over the next 12-18 months in support of government.
Ever since the pandemic broke out, the UN has emphasised the need to approach response and recovery with enhanced partnerships, multi-stakeholder engagements and dialogue.
Charles Abani stressed the need for more partnerships and collaboration, particularly with the private sector and IFIs and DFIs to build back better. It is in this regard that he said it is worthy of commendation that the CARES programme seeks to mobilise 70% of the GH₵100billion investment flows from the private sector toward revitalising and transforming the economy.
In his keynote address, President Akufo-Addo also emphasised the importance of private sector engagement and collaboration, especially with operationalisation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
“It is the private sector that can create the needed job opportunities for the people of our country, and I am confident that the Ghanaian private sector will rise to the challenge,” the president added.
“We expect that the private sector, facilitated and actively supported by government, will be at the forefront of trying to take advantage of the vast opportunities created by the AfCFTA.”. Indications are that the country is bouncing back faster than expected, and this should bode well for the days ahead.
Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, Deputy Trade and Industry Minister, expressed great optimism that the Ghanaian economy’s future remains bright as government continues to put in place measures to make it more resilient and strong to withstand future shocks.
Mr. Ahomka-Lindsay is convinced that the activities and initiatives begun in 2017 by government put the country in a very strong position to react. Strategic initiatives and activities, including Planting for Food and Jobs; One District, One Factory; and stability in the exchange rate helped the economy withstand shocks from the pandemic.
Ahomka-Lindsay also mentioned regulatory reforms – which he explained have made it easier for investors to do business, as one of the initiatives that contributed to the resilience shown in the face of the current economic crisis.
Although the Deputy Minister said the necessary foundation for economic transformation and resilience has been laid, he acknowledged that there is still more work to be done – especially in the area of manufacturing.
It is therefore hoped that government’s industrialisation programme of 1D1F will propel the manufacturing sector to heights which enable the country to compete favourably in the coming Africa free trade area implementation come January 2021.
All in all, we believe what the Senior Partner at KPMG Ghana, Anthony Sarpong, said holds the best option. He believes it is essential for a national development plan devoid of political manifesto influence to be drafted with the interests of all political parties, in order to accelerate economic growth post COVID-19.
Mr. Sarpong strongly believes the country should adopt medium- to long-term development strategies similar to what it did in the past for sustained economic growth.
“Our history indeed shows us that for each period when we have been guided by a unified plan we achieved more. Sir Guggisberg’s 10-year plan in the 1920s, President Nkrumah’s seven-year plan and Dr. Busia’s District Development plan are worthy examples to guide us on our way,” Sarpong noted.
A bi-partisan medium-to-long term development plan is the surest bet to position the economy for sustained growth. Anything short of that is speculative, uncoordinated and can be counter-productive. We need to prioritise development of the country to be relevant in this competitive global economy. That is the best way to achieve the ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ vision.