Banks vote ¢10 million to support Ghana’s fight against coronavirus

Banks in Ghana are offering 10 million cedis as donation to support the country’s fight against the deadly coronavirus which has infected over a million people globally and killed thousands of them.

The Ghana Association of Bankers which announced the package Monday said the amount being provided by its member banks will go into a Covid-19 fund and used for the procurement of protective gears as well as support frontline medical personnel in residence.

It will also go into easing the burden and practical difficulties face by some vulnerable citizens who will have to endure due to the restriction of movement during the partial lockdown in parts of the country.

President Nana Akufo-Addo on Sunday announced that the Covid-19 National Trust Fund which was established a week ago to support government’s efforts in the fight against the virus, has so far yielded 8.75 million cedis.

The amount, the President explained, will be used “to assist in the welfare of the needy and the vulnerable.”

Meanwhile, the Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB) explained in its statement that the donation forms part of a number of interventions it is taking “to mitigate the financial impact of Covid-19 on the general public”.

The Association said it will keep monitoring the impact of the coronavirus outbreak of the pandemic on the country’s health systems, supply chains and the general way of life of the people.

It also indicated that as part of their interventions, banks have already either reduced significantly or removed completely charges on digital banking platforms.

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That it explained, is to ensure that “customers do not have to make financial decisions on whether to switch to an alternate platform or not”

“As we entreat customers during this period to switch to available digital banking platforms to enable banking halls of banks to handle limited banking services, we have decided to make the switch less painful and financially advantageous,” the Association said.

Meanwhile it said banks are to hold bilateral discussions on further reprieve for customers operating in worst affected industries.

“We recognize with concern the challenges some of our clients have had to go through during the pendency of the pandemic; to mention a few, we note real challenges facing the airlines and general transportation businesses; hotels and other tourism related businesses; importers/exporters and our clients who are staff of these worst affected businesses” it observed.

On the bank of that, it said banks have agreed to hold bi-lateral discussions with customers who have loan exposures with respective banks so a more tailor-made solution can be agreed with their bankers.

“We advise customers to exercise restraint during this exercise as delays may be expected as banks will be using existing lean staff on roll to begin individual discussions on loan extensions, restructuring or other solutions respective banks will proffer to lessen the impact the virus may have caused,” it urged.

Ghana’s covid-19 situation

Ghana has recorded 214 covid-19 cases since the first two cases were confirmed in the country on March 12. Five of them who had underlying conditions have since died while three others have recovered.

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Forty-nine others have been discharged for home management by health officials who say additional 155 others are doing “well and responding to treatment” across the country.

So far cases have been recorded in six of the `16 regions of the country with Greater Accra leading with 189 followed by the Ashanti Region with 12 cases, Northern Region with 10 cases, and one case each in the Upper West, Eastern and Upper East regions.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah||Ghana