Parliament has approved a financial relief package for individuals affected by the deadly coronavirus which has grounded the economy to a virtual standstill.
The package is part of a $100million facility from the World Bank. Of this facility $35million has been devoted to fund Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project.
And of this chunk, $700,000 is going to help households struggling with the impact of coronavirus.
The largest part of the $35million loan, $21.5 million, is to go into “case detection, confirmation, contact tracing, recording and reporting.”
The approval request document available to theghanareport.com shows, government has earmarked $700, 000 to provide “social and financial support to households.”
The government explained further in the document that this tranche is “to provide support for the families of those who are isolated or quarantined.”
“The support will include psychosocial counseling, food-baskets and feeding during the isolation, quarantined and treatment period.”
“It will also include fee-waivers to access medical care and cash transfers to migrate loss of household income due to job loses that may result from the closure of firms and enterprises, informal sector businesses, as well as Government agencies, during the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Of the $21.5million, the government plans to allocate $3.6million strengthen health systems, including training personnel who are involved in contact tracing.
Some $12.7million is to be allocated to “containment, isolation and treatment.”
The document explained that this tranche is to support “leasing, renting establishement and refurbishing of designated facilities and centers to contain and treat infected persons in a timely manner.
The request was approved Wednesday night after the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament studied the document and endorsed it.
The novel coronavirus spreads through human contact, a means which triggered President Akufo-Addo’s ban on public gathering and later a lockdown of Accra, Kumasi, Kasoa and Tema–places described as hot spots of infections in Ghana.
With these two measures, Ghana’s economic activities have taken a severe hit with many companies closed to business while a chunk of government workers stay home.
Government has announced, economic growth could plummet from 6.8% to as low as 1.5%.
The President has said while the government is capable of resurrecting economic life, it has no power to bring back the dead.
Government has adopted three financial plans to fund the fight against coronavirus.
There is a $100million relief package given to Ghana by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Of this package, $35million has been earmarked for the Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project.
The funds for that project is what has been approved by parliament.
The government has also set up a 1billion cedi initiative dubbed the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme which is yet to be approved by Parliament.
The President, Nana Akufo-Addo has also announced a Covid-19 National Trust Fund which is soliciting donations from companies and individuals.
The bill relating to the Trust Fund has been brought to parliament and is expected to be approved Saturday.
The president was the first to donate to the fund, followed by the vice-president and later political appointees who are giving 50% of their salaries to help the fight.
Ghana has so far recorded 204 coronavirus infections with five deaths.
With coronavirus biting hard on the income of families across the world, some countries are offering financial reliefs for families and the unemployed.
The United States for instance, has forked out $ 300 billion in coronavirus reliefs to families and the unemployed.
Most individuals earning less than $75,000 can expect a one-time cash payment of $1,200. Married couples would each receive a check and families would get $500 per child. That means a family of four earning less than $150,000 can expect $3,400.
People making $99,000 and couples making more than $198,000 are not qualified for the financial cushion.