As part of efforts to cushion the hardship brought onto ghanaians as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led administration has announced a number of relief packages.
Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, announced the packages in Accra, on Friday, when he presented the 2020 mid-year fiscal policy review to Parliament.
The minister said the relief packages were to bring financial and social relief to businesses and the citizenry as well as stimulate the economy.
According to him, among the packages are the three months extension of free water and electricity supply for the citizens.
In addition, the government has increased the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) by GH¢150million to support businesses, and the establishment of a GH¢2 billion Guarantee facility to support all sectors of business and job creation.
President Akufo-Addo launched the CAP-BuSS of GH¢600 million, on 19th May, 2020.
It was designed to specifically support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
The Scheme is part of the GH¢1.2 billion CAP approved by Parliament to address the disruption to economic activities due to the pandemic. More than 64,000 Ghanaians from all the regions have benefited from the scheme.
The minister maintained that it was the responsibility of a caring government to recognise the adverse effects of the Coronavirus on its people.
“This is the reason why government has taken the necessary steps to further absorb the cost of electricity and water for the next three months,” he said.
In April this year, President Akufo-Addo, announced the reduction of electricity tariffs by half and provision of potable water for free to all Ghanaians for the months of April, May and June to make up for lost income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Finance Minister, the electricity and water subsidies has been extended for another three months to make sure the ordinary Ghanaian continues to enjoy free electricity and water while government works to eliminate the virus.
In his words: “Mr Speaker, the reason is simple. It is because we put the concerns and aspirations of the ordinary Ghanaian first. That is also why we further reduced electricity prices by half and completely provided potable water for free for everybody since March this year.”