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Ghana applies for IMF loan to fight COVID-19

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…confirmed cases rise to 68

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has confirmed that Ghana has applied for funds to fight the COVID-19.

The IMF citing its African Department director, Abebe Aemro Salassie Tuesday March 24, 2020, says Ghana last week requested for a Rapid Credit Facility Disbursement to help fight the coronavirus.

“Last week, the IMF received Ghana’s request for a disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility to help the country address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working hard to evaluate the authorities’ request and bring it forward for Executive Board consideration as soon as possible,” the Fund posted on its website.

Two weeks ago, the IMF announced that it is providing about $50 billion through its rapid-disbursement emergency financing facilities for low income and emerging market countries that could potentially seek support.

“Of this, $10 billion is available at zero interest for the poorest members through the Rapid Credit Facility,” it said.

Information from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) puts the number of confirmed cases in the country to-date March 25, 2020 at 68 with two deaths. 1030 individuals who travelled into the country through the Kotoka International Airport in Accra following the closure of all borders have been placed in mandatory quarantine. According to the GHS, 863 samples have been taken from the persons in quarantine and tested with 38 of them coming out positive. They are all being kept in isolation, it added.

It also indicated that it is doing contract tracing.

Meanwhile, the President, Nana Adoo Danquah Akufo-Addo in an address to the nation Wednesday March 11, 2020 had said he had directed the Minister of Finance to make available the cedi equivalent of $100 million to enhance Ghana’s coronavirus (COVID-19) preparedness and response plan.

“The Minister of Finance has made available the cedi equivalent of $100 million to enhance our coronavirus preparedness and response plan, that is to fund infrastructure, purchase materials and equipment and public education,” he said.

However, when the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta appeared before the country’s Parliament to answer questions, he said the money wasn’t available and that the government at that time was in talks with the two Bretton Woods Institutions – the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to try and access a total of $22 billion the two international finance institutions are making available to its member-countries to fight the disease.

“We are currently in discussion with the World Bank to tap into the $12 billion Bank fast-track COVID-19 facility to help close the financing gap. In addition we are in discussion with the IMF to access part of a $10 billion facility made available by the IMF to address the corona virus through the rapid credit facility,” he told the House.

In the meantime, it is not clear what funds the government is using to tackle the problem as the country observes a one-day fasting and prayer against the disease Wednesday March 25, 2020.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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