The Government of Ghana has announced a three-and-a-half-year economic recovery plan geared at resuscitating the economy from the impact of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic with aggressive focus on boosting food security, expanding the procurement of local goods and services and introducing unemployment insurance for jobs lost due to the pandemic.

This was revealed by the country’s Minister of Finance Ken Ofori Atta during his mid-year budget presentation in parliament. He said that the programme is expected to begin between now and 2023, and government would provide between GH¢20-30 billion directly with the rest expected to come from the private sector.

The programme, dubbed: ‘Covid-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation Enterprises Support (CARES)’ comes in two phases. The first is the stabilisation phase which aims at supporting enterprises recover. These include paying outstanding obligations to contractors and suppliers; injecting liquidity into the system and ease the cash flow difficulties of businesses; developing another programme to support large business hard hit by the pandemic; and also sourcing from the pharmaceuticals and textile & garment sectors and expand procurement from local producers for its goods and services.

Other interventions in the programme are establishing a guarantee scheme of up to GH¢2 billion to enable business to borrow from banks at more affordable rates; increasing funding to the CAP-BuSS Programme being run by National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI); and providing seed-fund for a retraining programme to help workers who are laid off because of covid-19 to develop new skills.

The second, which is the medium-term revitalisation phase, will also include initiatives such as supporting commercial farming by complementing the Planting for Food and Jobs and the Rearing for Food and Jobs programmes; providing targeted support to enable the private sector accelerate progress in building Ghana’s light manufacturing, technology, and digital economy sectors.

This phase will also make Ghana a regional financial hub by establishing an International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), as well as a regional manufacturing and logistics hub for the West Africa region; review of flagship programmes such as the 1 District 1 Factory, Free SHS and water and sanitation; enhance the business environment of the private sector through digitization, skills training, improvements in business regulations and their implementation, energy sector reform and expanding access to finance.