Editorial : A bitter pill to swallow but…

President Akufo-Addo announced a GH¢1billion stimulus support for households and businesses, particularly SMEs, as part of measures to mitigate the negative economic impact of COVID-19.

It follows the two-week lockdown of Accra, Kumasi and Tema announced by government as part of measures to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus that is taking a toll on economies around the world.

The President said Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, will provide details about the GH¢1 billion stimulus package but added that it will be used to implement measures that will reduce the impact of the pandemic on households and ensure that job losses are minimised.

The President mentioned other relief measures that will provide respite for businesses. This include the extension of the tax filing date from April to June; a 2 percent reduction of interest rates by banks, effective April 1, 2020; the granting by the banks of a six-month moratorium of principal repayments to entities in the airline and hospitality industries, i.e. hotels, restaurants, car rentals, food vendors, taxis, and uber operators.

A new COVID-19 Fund has been established to receive contributions and donations from the public to assist in the welfare of the needy and the vulnerable. There is no question that COVID-19 novel coronavirus has caused a crisis for the world’s economy and markets.

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In response to this crisis, governments and central banks all over the world have enacted fiscal and monetary stimulus measures to counteract the disruption caused by the coronavirus. Thus, many Ghanaians were anxious to learn what sort of stimulus package government would offer, particularly in light of the two-week lockdown announced by the government.

Obviously, that amount of cash injection is bound to affect budgetary projections for the year and throw out of gear government’s economic targets. However, as explained by the president when he issued the instructions, government can always turn around a bad economy, but however, cannot restore back life therefore it is prudent to adopt measures that will keep businesses and households afloat.

When that is successfully achieved and we are able to contain and defeat the onslaught of this deadly virus, then the country can put its shoulde4rs to the wheel and work towards building a resilient economy.

It is a bitter pill to swallow now but under the circumstances the global community finds itself as a result of this pandemic, there is very little options open for the country but to prepare a stimulus package to avoid the situation where the economy collapses entirely as a result of a halt in economic activity.

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