Dr Yaw Baah - General Secretary of TUC
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Ghana Employers Association (GEA) have called on the government to extend its stimulus support package to cover big businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, the government has plans to put in place a GHS600 million soft loan scheme with a two-year repayment plan for micro, small and medium scale businesses across the country who have been largely affected by the virus outbreak.
But speaking at the COVID-19 communiqué signing ceremony by the National Tripartite Committee, the General Secretary of TUC, Dr Yaw Baah said bigger businesses also deserve the support from the state given their tax contributions over the years.
“We want to associate ourselves with the Ghana Employers Association to recommend that we still need stimulus packages for big businesses. These businesses have been paying taxes for all these years.”
“Today they are in trouble and we expect the government to come in strongly and support them,” Dr Baah said, adding that the soft loan scheme will not be “enough to actually bring the economy back to where we were when this COVID-19 started.”
He also emphasized that this support should be based on importance to the value chain.
Dr Baah said the government “should identify and select a number of local enterprises to be supporting so that those disruptions can be minimised.”
Already, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta has indicated that the cumulative effect of the coronavirus pandemic will cost Ghana GH¢9.505 billion.
There was a three-week partial lockdown of Accra, Kasoa, Kumasi and Tema leading to a severe economic downturn as has been seen on the global level.
To address some of the expected challenges, the government announced a GHS1 billion Coronavirus Alleviation Programme that will be funded from the Ghana Stabilisation Fund.
Also, with approval from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ghana has received US$1 billion interest-free loan to be drawn under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF).
The money is to help Ghana address the “fiscal and balance of payments needs” and also help the country to improve confidence in its economy especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.