PRESS RELEASE ON THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK IN GHANA
The Private Enterprise Federation (PEF) representing its member business associations and chambers has noted with great concern the current outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) which started in China and has now become a global pandemic. PEF has also noticed the numerous interventions being put in place by the Government of Ghana as part of the emergency response plan set up in anticipation of a possible escalation of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in Ghana. We wish to commend the government for such forward-thinking interventions that will safeguard the lives of the people of Ghana.
PEF and its 19-member Business Associations and Chambers declare our unflinching support to the government in the fight against the disease.
Indubitably, this outbreak has brought untold hardship to the people of Ghana especially private sector businesses who are compelled to keep up with staff payrolls, utility cost and other statutory payments despite the fact that major revenue generation activities of these businesses are on a standstill. This calls for innovative approaches by all stakeholders to alley the hardship experienced by these businesses and the citizenry at large.
It is therefore commendable that the Bank of Ghana has put in place measures to help reduce the impact of the outbreak on credit to the private sector. The reduction of the policy rate by 150 basis points from 16 to 14. 5 percent, reducing the primary reserve requirement from 10 to 8 percent, reducing capital conservation buffer from 3 to 1.5 percent, provisioning for loans in the “other loans especially mentioned” category from 10 to 5 percent among others are policy decisions in the right direction and are welcomed by the private sector.
It is also commendable how the Bank of Ghana has effectively facilitated the release of funds for payment to depositors of collapsed Microfinance, Microcredit and Savings and Loans companies. In that same vain and as a matter of urgency, we request the Ministry of Finance to partner the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to ensure the release of funds to pay customers of collapsed Investment Companies/Asset Managers registered and regulated under SEC whose monies are still locked up with these Investment Companies. This move we believe will go a long way to improve the liquidity position of the private sector to boost the limited internally generated funds against current uncertainties.
Regardless of this undesired COVID-19, the Federation and its members are encouraged by the President’s actions and wish to state that the private sector as responsible partners in the socio-economic development of our country will continue to work hand in hand with Government to address the situation.
Finally, we wish to assure the Ghanaian public that the private sector will continue to provide its essential services where ever possible to ease the burden in these critical times and also request the general public to respect and obey safety procedures being implemented at the various business outlets and other places in line with the safety guidelines issued by the Government to control the spread of the disease.
Stay safe and God bless our homeland Ghana
Chief Executive Officer