The Finance Committee of Parliament has granted the multi-million-dollar relief package by government to respond to the disruption of economic activities by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This will allow the government to access the $219 million (GHȼ 1.2 billion) from the Contingency Fund requested on Wednesday by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, in the name of the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) to provide economic stimulus to businesses and food and water for households as well as reliefs for health sector workers.
Government indicated that it would spend GHȼ 40 million on buffer stock company, GHȼ 200 million on water and sanitation, and use GHȼ 241 million for tax waiver for health personnel and GHȼ 80 million as allowance for health staff.
Chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah told DGN Online his office had written to authorize the Finance Minister to withdraw the money for spending, explaining that Article 177(1) of the 1992 Constitution gives the committee the power to grant approval of such nature without plenary endorsement.
On Wednesday, Speaker Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye recalled Members of Parliament (MPs) for the House to admit a policy statement by the Finance Minister under Standing Order 70(2) after he indefinitely suspended sitting of the House on Saturday, April 4, 2020.
Mr. Ofori-Atta, in a paper presented to the House, asked the Finance Committee to approve $219 million transferred from the Ghana Stabilisation Fund (GSF) into the Contingency Fund for the CAP.
The stated amount came about as a result of approval by Parliament for government to lower the cap of the GSF from $300 million to $100 million after the Finance Minister apprised the House on the economic impact of the COVID-19 on the economy.
The Minister explained that the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme would primarily support provision of food and water for households, reliefs for health sector workers, and soft loans for micro, small and medium-size businesses.