Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta says the West African country will lose more than GH¢9.5 billion due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.

Mr. Ofori-Atta, who was speaking in parliament to brief the nation about the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, said the country should prepare to lose more than GH¢9.5 billion from shortfall in revenue from crude oil exports; non-oil tax revenue; import revenue; and further spending under the National Preparedness and Response Plan and the COVID-19 Alleviation Programme (CAP) to combat the pandemic.

In the 2020 budget, revenue from crude oil was projected with a price of US$62.6 per barrel. However, with Brent crude oil prices taking a nose dive to US$22.9 as of yesterday (March 30, 2020), from US$63.2 in November 2019, government estimates to lose more than GH¢5.6 million, even if the price climb to US$30 per barrel.

Again, as an import dependent economy, a sizeable of the non-tax revenues comes from imports. But with declining import volumes and values, as well as the slowdown in economic activities, the minister said, will lead to shortfalls in both import duties and other tax revenues of more than GH¢2.2 billion (with shortfalls from imports estimated at GH¢808million).

Then, the National Preparedness and Response Plan will further cost GH¢572 million. This plan seeks to strengthen coordination of the overall preparedness activities; strengthen capacity of regions, priority health facilities and points of entry to prevent, rapidly detect, investigate and control any COVID-19 outbreak in Ghana; and strengthen national capacity for laboratory surveillance and diagnosis.

It will further build capacity for early diagnosis, case management, contact tracing and infection prevention and control; ensure minimum health logistics are in place in prioritised regions, health facilities and points of entry for preparedness and laboratory capacity sustained for timely and quality testing of COVID-19 samples; and increase public awareness on COVID-19 risk mitigation and response measures.

There is also the GH¢1 billion COVID-19 Alleviation Programme (CAP) which was announced by the President as means to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on businesses and households and ensure that economic activities are sustained, whiles minimizing job losses. This, Mr. Ofori-Atta said will be taken from the Stabilisation Fund and will go to targeted businesses in the health sector, education sector, hospitality industry, SMEs, and households hard hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.