Ghana obtains $500m debt repayment freeze from World Bank

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced that Ghana has obtained a $500-million dollar freeze in debt and interest  repayment for the rest of this year from the World Bank.

The move is part of a broader pan-african effort for debt relief due to the negative impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the President said.

In his seventh update to the nation on COVID-19, the President said last Friday, African Finance Ministers, led by Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, and his South African counterpart, achieved a nine-month debt standstill from the World Bank for all qualifying members of the International Development Association (IDA), starting from May 1, 2020.

The total amount for the beneficiaries on the continent is $44 billion.

“In the case of Ghana, this amounts to a freeze in principal and interest payments for the year, amounting to $500 million,” he explained.

“This will create greater fiscal space to help make the Ghanaian economy much more resilient.”

President Akufo-Addo lauded Ken Ofori-Atta, who is leading the continent’s debt relief efforts for his hard work and outstanding leadership.

He urged him to leave no stone unturned to achieve an even greater and comprehensive debt relief programme for Africa.

The Government welcomed the GH¢3 billion credit and stimulus package from the commercial banks, under the auspices of the Ghana Association of Bankers, with support from the Bank of Ghana, to revitalise Ghanaian industries.

The stimulus package is to offer financial relief to especially the pharmaceutical companies.

Additionally, the President said, the one billion United States-dollar- Rapid Credit Facility, secured from the International Monetary Fund, without any pre-condition, and approved by Parliament, would be used to help close the financial gap created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

So far, the Government has allocated a GH¢1.2 billion, under the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme, to support households and businesses.

Out of that amount, GHc280 million would be used to provide food for the vulnerable and free water for all Ghanaians in April, May and June.

A total of GH¢323 million is being used to motivate frontline health workers leading the fight against COVID-19, while a GH¢600 million assistance package is for micro, small and medium-scale businesses.

Additionally, the Government is absorbing the full electricity bills of one million active lifeline customers and granting 50 per cent subsidy to the   other categories of power consumers at a total cost of GH¢1 billion.

The President lifted the ban on the three-week partial lockdown of COVID-19 hotspots areas, including Accra, Tema, Kasoa,Greater Kumasi and its contagious districts.

He, however, maintained the other restrictions, including the ban on public gatherings, public funerals, indefinite closure of schools, closure of the border and urged the strict observance of social distancing.

Ghana’s case count for COVID-19 now stands at 1,042, with nine deaths and 99 persons fully recovered, after 68,591 sample test results were declared.

Source: GNA

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