Government disburses GH¢600m to SMEs for COVID-19 recovery – Akufo-Addo

President Nana Akufo-Addo says government has disbursed GH¢600 million to 200,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as loans under the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme to aid their recovery.

He said government has launched a GH¢2 billion Ghana Credit Guarantee Scheme under the Ghana Credit Programme which would provide guarantees for banks to lend to businesses who were affected by the pandemic.

“We have also launched a GH¢100 billion CARES which will ensure an accelerated economy, but this cannot be achieved without partnership with the private sector”, he said.

This was in a speech read on his behalf at this year’s Ghana Economic Forum on the theme: “Resetting the Economy Beyond COVID-19; Building Economic Resilience and Self-Sufficiency”, organized by Business and Financial Times.

Beneficiaries of the loans have up to a one-year moratorium and a two-year repayment period with an interest rate of 3 per cent.

According to the University of Ghana study in 2015, the SMEs sector, contribute about 70 per cent to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and accounts for about 92 per cent of businesses in the country.

He said by dent of hard work and prudent management of the economy by government, Ghana had chalked a modest success in the entire socio-economic space with the country having one of the fastest GDP growth rates in Africa and the world.

The President said before the onset of COVID-19, the economy was tipped to grow by 6.8 per cent in 2020, with GDP growth rate averaging at 7 per cent while inflation was targeted at 8.2 per cent with fiscal debt projected at 4.7 per cent.

He said all these economic indicators pointed to that fact the country had an economy with solid fundamentals and was poised to make it better.

“These indicators of strong performance had led to our country to become the recipient of foreign direct investment in West Africa with approximately $12.7 billion since we came into government”, he said.

Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance in a mid-year budget statement said the economy was expected to grow at 0.9 per cent, with inflation expected to reach a double digit.

He called for a partnership with Ghanaian companies to build a world class economy for a sustainable development.

Data from the Bank of Ghana’s Composite Index of Economic Activities show that the economy is responding positively due to the robust interventions put in place by government.

He said the GDP growth rate was being pegged at 2 per cent on the back of increased business and consumer confidence after government lifted the restrictions on movement after the lockdown.

He stated that the banking sector and the private sector credit had moved from GH¢35 billion to over GH¢45 billion while assets had increased from over GH¢100 billion to over GH¢133 billion.

President Akufo-Addo said government would continue to institute proactive measures towards the recovery of the economy and to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on businesses.

Dr Godwin Acquaye, Executive Director, Ghana Economic Forum, said COVID-19 has changed every sector of the economy and that it was necessary for government to strategize to withstand future pandemics.

He said the forum would provide platform for stakeholders to share ideas on the economic agenda for government to reshape its policy document for national development.

Source: GNA

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