Dealers and makers of artefacts at the Accra Arts Centre have appealed to the government to be included in the stimulus package set aside by the government to cushion small and medium enterprises (SMEs) due to the impact of the COVID-19 on businesses.
According to them, the closure of the country’s borders has badly affected their businesses since their main targets, foreigners, are not allowed to enter the country after the outbreak of the virus.
Speaking in an interview, some of the artists demand a benefit from the government’s GHS600 million allocation to particularly SMEs to keep their business afloat for the future.
“There have been no customers since the outbreak of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. But we are always here because this is where we belong. Government has announced a stimulus package. They should give us some of the money so that when our businesses go down, we can use it to support ourselves,” one of the artists said.
“For two months now, I have not seen any customer here so the government should come and support us. What we want is that the government should take a cue from other countries so that they can give us a stimulus package. I hear there is a GHS600 million package but it is too small,” another artist noted.
President announces one-billion cedi stimulus package
The Government on Friday, March 27, 2020 announced a one-billion cedi stimulus package to households and businesses, particularly small and medium scale enterprises, under a Coronavirus Alleviation Programme in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement made by President Nana Akufo-Addo in a televised address on enhanced measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic said the Alleviation Programme was to address the disruption in economic activities, the hardship of the people, and to rescue and revitalize the industries.
“The Minister for Finance has been directed by me to prepare, for approval by Parliament, a Coronavirus Alleviation Programme to address the disruption in economic activities, the hardship of our people, and to rescue and revitalize our industries,” the President said.
He added that the government was also providing additional relief, such as the extension of the tax filing date from April to June; a two percent reduction of interest rates by banks, effective 1st April 2020; and the granting by the banks of a six-month moratorium of principal repayments to entities in the airline and hospitality industries.