Editorial: Realising US$100m to combat COVID-19 must be surmounted

Parliament on April 1, 2020, approved a World Bank and IMF loan facility of US$35million brought before it by government to enable it combat spread of the COVID-19.

The amount represents 35% of the US$100million announced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as earmarked to contain spread of the coronavirus, leaving a funding gap of US$65million.

Where government is going to raise the US$65million to close that gap is a little unclear.

The World Bank is providing US$100million for Ghana to assist the country in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, and this will be made available to government and the people of Ghana as short-, medium- and long-term support.

The financing package includes US$35million in emergency support to help the country provide improved response systems.

The World Bank Group is rolling out a US$14billion fast-track package to strengthen the COVID-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery. The US$35million in emergency support will help strengthen Ghana’s National Laboratories by providing robust systems for the early detection of COVID-19 cases, and provide real-time disease surveillance and reporting systems for outbreaks.

Insurance group Hollard Ghana has donated GH¢100,000 to the COVID-19 Fund established by government to urgently finance efforts to contain spread of the virus currently ravaging the world. Also, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Shi Ting Wang, on behalf of two Chinese invested companies, donated US$200,000 to the Ghanaian government toward its fight against COVID-19.

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Additionally, President Nana Akufo-Addo and his Vice Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia have donated three months of their salaries to the country’s battle against the deadly coronavirus pandemic. We are hopeful that as more corporate bodies contribute to the fund set up to fight COVID-19, the country might just close that US$65million funding gap to combat the novel virus.

The COVID-19 National Trust Fund was set up to complement the efforts of government in its fight against the disease, and is chaired by former Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo. All Ministers of State and other top appointees at the presidency have also voluntarily decided to donate 50 percent of their salary.

Parliament also contributed GH¢200,000 – with Speaker of the House Prof. Aaron Mike Ocquaye also donating half of his three-month salary to the fund. Such public-spirited donations will not go far in assisting government to realise its financing options, but they set a good example and will inspire the populace to persevere under these trying conditions.

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