Ghana government says it lost over GH¢11b in 2020 due to COVID-19

Habibu Adams (right).

The Ghana government lost over GH¢11 billion revenue in the 2020 basically due to the COVID-19 pandemic; Mr Habibu Adams, Senior Economist at the office of the Senior Presidential Advisor, Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo has said.

Mr Adams said the closure of borders and the airport, and the lockdown and its related issues was at a huge financial cost to the state.

The Economist revealed this on Monday when he appeared on the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Tema Regional Office’s Industrial News Hub Boardroom Dialogue to interact with staff on the upcoming 2022 budget presentation to Parliament on November 17, 2021.

He said even though such high amounts of estimated revenue were lost, government had its expenditure moving up to about GH¢14 billion.

Mr Adams said even though government was not earning as much as it should in 2020, it still had to put in measures to cushion Ghanaians against the impact of the pandemic and could therefore only achieve this by borrowing more to make up for the shortfall.

He added that apart from providing logistics for hospitals, Personal Protective Equipment, free electricity and water provisions, salaries of majority of workers who were at home without working such as teachers were still paid putting a huge burden on government.

“Our economy is an informal one, therefore reliefs must be put in place to cushion the people against the COVID-19 hardship, so government had to borrow,” he said.

Mr Adams said since the country’s debt was high, and the citizens including; workers were demanding for more benefits and development, coupled with government being in a position that it could no longer borrow, there was the need to put in measures to ensure that the needed revenue was raised internally.

This, he said could only be achieved by the introduction of some taxes, and the roping in of more persons including; those in the informal sector into the tax net.

According to him those in the formal sector and a few other people were burdened with taxes while majority of people who were operating in the informal sector evaded taxation even though they complained most of lack of development.

Mr Francis Ameyibor, of the Tema Regional Office of the GNA said the Industrial News Hub Board Room dialogue on the budget was to offer the Senior Economist an opportunity to throw light on the budget preparation.

He said, “as journalists we need to be well informed on the issues surrounding the budget before we could effectively educate the public on it after the presentation”.

Mr Ameyibor added that as the fourth estate of the realm, there was the need for the GNA-Tema office to help the public to reach out to government and people in authority with their issues while bringing the understanding of government’s policy to the people.

He said to this end, the office said a number of flagship programmes including; the boardroom dialogue to provide the platform for state and non-state actors to interact and discuss national issues.

He announced that the GNA Tema dubbed the Industrial News Hub was to introduce two other programmes namely; “My Constituency My Agenda”, and “My District My Agenda” to respectively give opportunity to Members of Parliament and other politicians, as well as the various district assemblies and their chief executives, coordinating directors and departmental heads to talk about their activities.

Mr Ameyibor said the GNA Tema team would do follow-up as well as monitor and evaluate to ensure that “we link pronouncements to performance on the grounds while creating a platform to strengthen local governance.”

Source: GNA

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