Right Hon. Speaker and Honourable Members of Parliament, I appear before you today to provide an update to you and the people of Ghana on the economic impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (in short, COVID-19) pandemic on the economy of Ghana and measures the government is taking to mitigate the impact.
Mr. Speaker, you recall that when I appeared in this August House on Tuesday, 17th March 2020 to answer questions on the cost of printing the new GHS100 and GHS200 notes as well as on monies transferred from the Ghana Stabilisation Fund into the Sinking Fund in recent years, I used the opportunity to provide a brief update on the fiscal impact of the Coronavirus on the economy.
I indicated then that I will come back to the House to provide a more detailed update on the macro-fiscal impact and the measures that Government is taking to mitigate the impact and, at the right time, seek for the necessary parliamentary approvals.
Mr. Speaker, last Friday night, in his fourth address to update the people on the country’s responses to the Coronavirus pandemic, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo directed the Finance Minister to prepare for approval by Parliament, a Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) to address the disruption in economic activities, the hardship of our people, and to rescue and revitalize our industries.
Mr Speaker, this is in line with achieving the five (5) key objectives the President has set out to combat the pandemic in Ghana:
- limit and stop the importation of the virus;
- contain its spread;
- provide adequate care for the sick;
- limit the impact of the virus on social and economic life and;
- inspire the expansion of our domestic capability and deepen our self-reliance.
Mr. Speaker, since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, the virus has been spreading very fast around the globe and more recently in Africa. It is affecting some 199 countries and territories around the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic on March 11 ––just 20 days ago.
On that day, there were 4,500 new cases across the world, with only six in Africa. Cumulative confirmed cases worldwide was 118,400. Ghana recorded its first case the following day, March 12.