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COVID 19: CLARIFY GHS1 BN STIMULUS PACKAGE, ENSURE TRANSPARENCY – ISSER BOSS

The Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Professor Peter Quartey, wants clarity as to whom will be benefited from the expected GHS1 billion stimulus package announced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for businesses and households and how the money would be distributed.

“GHS1 billion for SMEs is a good gesture but my question is: How? I don’t think I got ‘the how’ GHS1 billion for whom; how does one qualify? I believe by now we should have known the how. Otherwise, people will think it is just one of the political statements [and that] it won’t happen

I expect to see, in the next coming days if not quicker, ‘the how’ is made available; so that business know that yes, I qualify because I pay taxes I qualify; if I do not pay taxes, I do not qualify.  Then we also look at the informal system, you said SMEs, does it include the informal system, how are you able to know which companies within the informal system are covered?

“I took a glance at the Ghana Living Standards Survey, the informal sector accounts for about 71% plus of total employment and then the formal sector accounts for 28% of employment. So, you can see that the informal sector is quite big in our economy. How are you going to support them so that people do not lose their jobs and livelihoods? Then, also, you find that the public sector employs only 6.8% of the total labour force, whereas the private sector employs 92.5 per cent. Public sector workers are guaranteed their salaries, what about private sector workers?”

Many employees, particularly those in the non-essential services, have been asked to proceed on leave because of the earlier directive by the President. They include teachers.

Professor Quartey also called for transparency and accountability in the disbursement of the funds.

“In the past, we have seen government support going to party faithful, employees or businesses that one way or the other are linked to somebody. I think we should move away from that.

“If we do this, I believe no matter how small the amount is, it will go a long way to alleviate some of the sufferings.”

Ghanaians, particularly the vulnerable, are now waiting to hear whether or not the government will provide a stimulus package that will cover individuals and families.

Already, the Bank of Ghana has slashed down its policy interest rate by 200 basis points to provide some relief for consumers.

The central bank also announced some measures to aid the monetary economy, which included a reduction in the primary reserves requirement from 10% to 8%.

By: Naa Anyema Collison

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