The airline and hospitality industries in Ghana are to receive a six month moratorium on principal loan repayments as part of a string of measures announced by the government to prevent a floundering economy due to the global coronavirus outbreak.
This means operators of airlines, hotels and restaurants as well as car rentals, food vendors, taxis, and Uber operators will be exempted from repaying the principal of their loans with the various banks as the country go on a two-week lockdown from Monday, March 30 to contain the spread of the virus.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who announced this Friday night also said all other sector credit exposures will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
Already the Bank of Ghana has announced a 1.5% decrease in the policy rate and 2% in reserve requirement with a ¢3 billion facility to support industry especially in the pharmaceutical, hospitality, service and manufacturing sectors.
“We are aware that there will be discomfort and difficulties for all of us over the next couple of weeks,” the President admitted.
He has thus extended tax filing date for businesses from April to June.
“We are providing additional relief, such as…a two percent (2%) reduction of interest rates by banks, effective 1st April, 2020,” the stated.
He said he has directed the Finance Minister 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.
“He will, then, immediately make available a minimum of one billion cedis (GH¢1 billion) to households and businesses, particularly small and medium scale enterprises,” Nana Akufo-Addo stated.
For a start, the President has announced a two-week lockdown in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area and Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area which have been declared the hotspots for the virus, to prevent its spread to other parts of the country.
He said since Ghana has succeeded in halting any more importation of the disease into the country, it has become necessary that the “strictest measures are put in place to contain it”.
“Even though it may be said that the number of infections is still relatively low, if we act now, purposefully, we have a chance of preventing escalation of our numbers,” President Akufo-Addo stressed.
“So, effective 1am on Monday, 30th March, some forty-eight hours from now, I have imposed, pursuant to the powers granted the President of the Republic, under the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012), restrictions on movement of persons in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA, which includes Awutu Senya East), and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area and contiguous districts, for a period of two (2) weeks, subject to review.”
This lockdown decision, Nana Akufo-Addo explained, “will give us the opportunity to try to halt the spread of the virus, and scale-up effectively contact tracing of persons who have come into contact with infected persons, test them for the virus, and, if necessary, quarantine and isolate them for treatment, should they prove to have the virus.”
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana