Kumasi, Friday 24th April, 2020 - Hon Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance has commended the leadership of Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) in the Ashanti Region and Ghana at large, for the efficiency with which they distributed food items to the poor and vulnerable during the lockdown.
“With your assistance, we have successfully distributed 400,000 food packets in Kumasi, Kasoa, Accra and Tema”. Ken Ofori-Atta stated.
He made this known during a ‘thank you’ tour of the Ashanti Region which took him to the Manhyia Palace where he interacted with the Asantehene, Otumfour Osei Tutu II.
He later met and held discussions with the Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon Simon Osei-Mensah, the Metropolitan Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Hon Osei Assibey Antwi as well as some leaders of FBOs.
During the interaction with the leadership of the FBOs, he noted that, the last four weeks had reinforced the government’s belief in the Churches’ as impartial mechanism for delivering social interventions to the poor and the vulnerable.
“With 70% of Ghanaians being Christians, the Churches’ influence on the Ghanaian population is immense and now, more than ever, we need you to use that influence to guide and support Ghanaians spiritually, physically and emotionally”, the Minister stressed.
The government, the Minister added, will continue to work closely with its major stakeholders which included the FBOs, to ensure the general population understood their role in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
The Finance Minister also extended government’s gratitude to the Christian umbrella Churches for their financial contributions to the National COVID-19 Fund and again for initiating the Three (3) Day National Fasting and Prayer, all in a bid to pray to God to preserve Ghanaians.
He, among other things, charged the leadership of the FBOs to lead the corona prevention campaign with messages centered on wearing of masks in public places, continuous handwashing with soup in all public places and the use of sanitizers and most importantly, to continue to spread the message of hope and God’s love in times like this.
Ken Ofori-Atta also gave account of what government governments initiatives to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the economy.
He said, recognizing the impact that this global pandemic had had not only on the health systems, but also on businesses and individual incomes and finances, the government had put in place certain measures to alleviate the difficulties that Ghanaians had to deal with because of the COVID-19.
The measures to cater for households included food packages and hot meals, and provision of free water and sanitation.
In addition, relief for health workers included waiver of Personal Income Taxes for all health workers for three (3) months, allowance for 50% of basic salary for all frontline health workers for four (4) months and busing of health workers in Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Kasoa to and from work for duration during the lockdown.
Small, and medium size businesses have also been programmed to benefit from soft loans to revive their businesses and cushion them against losses during the pandemic, he added.
The Finance Minister at the end of the visit took a tour of a local company called Prefos Limited that is manufacturing, streets lights and planning on expanding to include LED lights. END