1. Introduce a short code for informal sector workers to register their mobile money numbers as informal workers accounts. Verification could be done using the information on occupation provided on their ID cards used in registering their mobile money accounts. Applicants must be more than 18 years old and not be engaged in any kind of farming. We believe that farmers should be excluded from a lockdown as their activity is usually not in crowded situations and the production of food is important for the survival of Ghanaians. This will also reduce the burden of supporting the informal sector during the lockdown.
2. During the lock down, government must provide an allowance to informal sector workers through these accounts to support them and their families. The resources needed for this can be drawn from allocated funds that are not being applied now such as those for the School Feeding Programme and Free SHS funds, to mention a few. We are certain that there are other resources and major expenditure items that can be shelved this year in the face of a major crisis such as COVID-19. Of course, government must still provide food and sanitary materials for the most deprived of the society through NADMO. Government should also use the period to clean the cities and implement planning regulations that have been flouted for decades.
3. Upon completion of the Lock Down period and the eventual passing of the threat of COVID-19, informal sector workers should only be allowed to return to their shops and businesses if they register their businesses under a special business registrations programme and receive a sticker to put up on their shops and stalls. They must be returning to well-planned locations and demarcated markets. They must also be brought under a programme of business support that seeks to provide them with skills training and loans to make their businesses better.
Dr Prince Abbey
Ghana Must Work Coalition