Gov’t announces Gh¢1bn support to SMEs and households

Government has announced measures aimed at mitigating the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Ghanaian businesses and households.

Delivering his fourth national televised address on the State’s strategies to stem the spread of the deadly virus in Ghana, President Nana Akufo-Addo announced a relief package of at least GH¢1 billion for households and businesses, particularly small and medium scale enterprises.

“The Minister for Finance has been directed by me to prepare, for approval by Parliament, a Coronavirus Alleviation Programme to address the disruption in economic activities, the hardship of our people, and to rescue and revitalise our industries.

“He will, then, immediately make available a minimum of one billion cedis (GH¢1 billion) to households and businesses, particularly small and medium scale enterprises,” he said Friday night.

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“Also, commercial banks across are expected to support local industries, especially in the pharmaceutical, hospitality, service and manufacturing sectors with an estimated GH¢3 billion facility in response to the Bank of Ghana’s 1.5% decrease in Policy Rate and 2% in reserve requirement,” he said.

Additional relief to businesses which the President announced during the televised address is an extension of the tax filing date from April to June as well as a 2% reduction of interest rates by banks, effective April 1, 2020.

Furthermore, banks are expected to grant 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.

“All other sector credit exposures will be reviewed on a case by case basis; mobile money users can send up to GH¢100 for free; and a 100% to 300% increase in the daily transaction limits for mobile money transactions,” the President reiterated recent directives issued by the central bank.

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The President on Friday also announced that movements in some urban areas in the country will be restricted from Monday for two weeks as part of measures to control the spread of the coronavirus.

The lockdown affects areas in Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Kumasi, where significant numbers of infections have been recorded.

As of Friday, March 27, 2020, Ghana has recorded 137 confirmed cases.