The GH¢100 billion COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (CARES) programme will serve as a blueprint for the country’s economic recovery after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Through the programme, the government will provide the support to build back boldly but smartly, paying greater attention to inclusive growth, especially in the areas of health, agriculture, industrial processing and service delivery.
Building WISER Ghana
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, said this when he launched the post-COVID-19 economic recovery programme in Accra yesterday.
The launch was attended by the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, who represented the President; the Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta; the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen; the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng; the Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful; the World Bank Country Director, Mr Pierre Laporte, and the Country Manager of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Sebastien Okeke.
Opportunity for remodelling
In a speech read on his behalf by Mr Osafo-Maafo, the President said the pandemic had provided the opportunity for the country to remodel and build a Wealthy, Inclusive, Sustainable, Empowered and Resilient (WISER) Ghana, which is the goal of the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
“This GH¢100 billion Ghana CARES programme is Ghana Beyond Aid in action. We expect growth to rebound strongly in 2021 at 5.7 per cent as a result of our implementation of the transformation and revitalisation phase of the CARES programme in 2020.
“We must take advantage of the opportunity the pandemic has afforded us to do things differently. In light of this, and consistent with my government’s unrelenting focus on building a resilient and people-centred economy with opportunities for all, I charged my ministers, at the onset of the pandemic, to develop an economic stabilisation and recovery programme,” he said.
He added that the programme would not only mitigate the impact of the pandemic on lives and livelihoods but, more importantly, ensure that Ghana quickly emerged from the crisis with a stronger and more resilient economy.
“A Ghana that is prosperous enough to stand on its own feet; a Ghana that is beyond the dependence of charity of others to cater for the needs of its people. The COVID-19 pandemic has sharply reminded us of the wisdom of this course,” the President said.
Mr Ofori-Atta said “after extensive consultations, we have designed the Ghana CARES ‘Obaatan Pa’ programme which will serve as the blueprint for our post-COVID-19 economic recovery and structural economic transformation”.
“Our comprehensive approach is focused on saving lives, as well as protecting the poor and vulnerable, while ensuring business rebuilding and growth in sustainable ways,” he said.
Building stronger institutions
Mr Ofori-Atta said the emphasis of the programme was to build stronger institutions to deliver efficient services, provide the necessary infrastructure to support businesses and improve access to long-term finance, build skills to deepen the quality and impact of services and maintain financial sustainability.
“Now, more than ever, we will expand our financial partnerships, investment partnerships and knowledge centres of excellence. We’ll build on the great successes we have had in agriculture by scaling up technologies to reach millions of farmers. We will add value to what we produce and provide creative, as well as high-tech opportunities for massive youth engagement in agriculture and agribusiness,” he noted.
He said the priority was for workers and businesses to use their skills and productive capacities innovatively in a commercial environment that offered extended regional market opportunities, thanks to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
The Finance Minister indicated that the government would contribute GH¢30 billion of the GH¢100 billion, with the remaining GH¢70 billion expected to be raised from the private sector.
“To fully implement this programme, we will need the full engagement of our private sector partners (international and domestic). We have already signaled that 70 per cent of the financing will be sought from the private sector, and the government will do its utmost to create a more conducive environment for the sector to invest, create jobs and thrive.
“We must, as a nation, mobilise our heads, hands and hearts to respond to the call to participate in this shared burden. We cannot continue with the slow pace of development; urgent transformation is required to provide opportunities for our teeming youth who remain the hope for our future,” he said.