President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said some circumstances and conditions have to be carefully considered before lifting the ban on public gatherings.
Nana Akufo-Addo at a meeting with members of the Council of State at the Jubilee House said he is aware of the impact of the closure of schools, churches and mosques.
The President said he is, however, holding consultations with key stakeholders including members of the Council of State to conclude on the next line of action as far as the ban is concerned.
“There are still very important measures in place that are impacting the daily lives of our people. How long can we keep the churches closed? How long can we keep the mosques closed? What about our schools? When are they going to be able to resume? What are the circumstances and conditions that we have to see being satisfied before those measures can be taken?”
“There are very critical steps that we all have to think about. The present situation, the emergency cannot be a permanent feature of our national life. We have to at some stage confront the future and how we will address that future. I think at all those critical points, you have an important input to make. There are some amongst who have been reaching out to me on an individual basis but I have not had the opportunity for this collective meeting between the President and his Council of State,” the president said.
The ban on social gatherings is still in force, despite the lifting of the partial lockdown on Accra, Kumasi, Tema and Kasoa.
For the avoidance of doubt, President cited “conferences, workshops, funerals, parties, nightclubs, drinking spots, beaches, festivals, political rallies, religious activities and sporting events” as part of activities still banned in the country.
Though all educational facilities are also to remain closed, the President said: “businesses and other workplaces can continue to operate, observing staff management and workplace protocols with the view to achieving social distancing and hygiene protocols.”
According to the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, the cumulative effect of the novel coronavirus pandemic has already been estimated at GHS9.505 billion after the halting of activity in most sectors of the economy.
The worst-hit businesses are expected to benefit from a stimulus package made available by the government.
Additionally, Parliament has given the Minister of Finance the green light to access the GHS 1.2 billion Contingency Fund to lessen the toll of the pandemic on the economy.
Parliament last week, also approved a $1 billion IMF Rapid Credit Facility in this regard.
The strain on businesses has led observers to urge the government to be mindful of both economic and business casualties created as a result of the coronavirus.