I Get Sleepless Nights Over COVID-19 Pandemic – Finance Minister Pens Emotional Letter
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has lamented over the country’s dwindling economic fortunes due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced the country into an unprecedented lockdown.
Ghanaian authorities had projected a GDP growth of 6.8 percent this year, but that could fall to 1.5 percent, as uncertainty about when full economic activities would be restored heightens.
In an open letter released on Thursday, Mr. Ofori-Atta says he is deeply troubled by the turn of events, predicting that further delay in returning to normalcy could erode the economic gains of the Akufo-Addo led-administration.
Mr. Ofori-Atta said Ghana had a great start to the year with a landmark of $3bn Eurobond issued and having successfully completed a 3-year IMF program, he had high hopes of the economy bouncing back before COVID-19 struck.
COVID-19 pandemic has hypothetically wiped out 10-15 percent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product, the Finance Minister bemoaned in his three-page epistle.
He maintains that the estimated $1bn loss in domestic tax revenue during the COVID-19 period, coupled with the loss of productivity and job losses, could spell doom for Ghana’s economic growth in the future.
The Finance Minister further reveals that the “strange and eerie feeling of the apocalypse” in the country anytime he drives to Accra makes him toss and turn several times before he is able to catch some sleep at night.
Mr. Ofori-Atta said it is a shame that despite Bank of Ghana cutting policy rate by 150 basis points and reducing reserve requirement to enable banks to lend more, it would take 2 to 3 years for the economy to fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic stress.
In his opinion, the coronavirus pandemic surpasses the Spanish flu epidemic that killed thousands of people globally in 1918.
While commending President Akufo-Addo for taking stringent measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus, the Finance Minister said Ghana and Africa would need fresh capital to be able to “resuscitate” its ailing economy.
He further admonished Ghanaians to adhere to the World Health Organization’s protocols which have been announced to help curtail the spread of the deadly virus.
Ghana as of the time of filing this report had recorded 641 COVID-19 cases with 83 recoveries and 8 deaths.
—: As reported by asempanews