COVID-19: Gov’t seeks donor funding to fight disease

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Government says it will be falling on donor funds as it moves to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, the country will in the coming days, be securing a facility from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to boost the country’s fight against the disease.

So far, Ghana has recorded seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 amidst fears that the numbers could rise in the coming days.

The disease which has impacted negatively on the economic fortunes of the world has seen crude oil plummet on the international scene.

Locally, it is estimated that the disease will impact heavily on petroleum receipts, custom receipts, other receipts, expenditures(especially health-related) and financing conditions on the fiscal front.

Experts also predict that tourism, travel and conferences, Foreign Direct Investments, international trade, among others will likely be affected.

Ghana, which had made some projections to rake in revenue from the oil industry has been left hanging dry leading to it falling on its multilateral and bilateral partners for potential assistance to bridge a possible financing gap in the 2020 budget.

Government in the interim is considering withdrawing from the Ghana Stabilisation Fund to close that financing gap.

Appearing before Parliament on Wednesday, March 17, 2020, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta explained to the House the interventions being put in place to fight the deadly coronavirus which has claimed over 7,500 lives globally.

Mr Ofori Atta told MPs how Ghana had to rely on the two Bretton-Woods Institutions for help to boost the country’s case management and preparedness to the disease.

“We are currently in discussion with the World Bank to tap into a US$12billion World Bank Group fast track COVID-19 facility to help close the financing gap. With Ghana also chairing the development committee of the World Bank, we are having quite a bit of influence in encouraging the bank to also look at the fragile states on the continent to give them grants immediately and that is being considered” he said.

A further US$10 billion from the International Monetary Fund, he explained, is expected to be made available by the IMF to address the pandemic.

Mr Ofori Atta also denied claims that were conditionalities attached to the two facilities saying “The IMF facility that we are looking at is a rapid credit facility and that will come to Parliament. It is typically a zero interest rate five-year moratorium and five-year payment but no strings attached. This is the type of facility they used for Mozambique during the Idai disaster”

“Parliament granted approval to raise US$3.0billion from the Eurobond Market for 2020. The Ministry worked tirelessly and successfully raised US$3.0billion at the best rates in the country’s history,” he noted.

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