President Nana Akufo-Addo says the government is taking steps to handle any adverse impacts the global outbreak of the deadly coronavirus could have on the country’s economic fortunes.
According to him, the state has engaged some relevant industry players to produce inputs needed to tackle the possible spread of the virus into Ghana.
Addressing the country on Wednesday, President Akufo-Addo was hopeful that Ghana will take advantage of the pandemic, position itself as a self-reliant country and bring to an end the assistance it receives from other foreign countries.
While commending the efforts of international bodies such as the World Health Organization, World Bank and International Monetary Fund in the fight against the spread of the virus in the country, the president assured of the government’s commitment to doing everything possible to avert the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.
“Government is analyzing the potential impact on our economy to the virus and will trigger the relevant response to minimize it. We have begun to engage the domestic pharmaceutical industry to assist in producing as much of the logistics to prevent and combat the virus as it is possible under the circumstances.”
“Indeed, we must take advantage of the crisis to strengthen our domestic productive capacity so that we can advance our self-reliance and reduce our dependence on foreign inputs. Necessity they say is the mother of invention. We are grateful to the World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank, IMF and friends of Ghana for the assistance they have so far provided and for the pledges made in our support of our fight. We shall continue to work with them to defeat the spread of the virus.”
Already, all of Ghana’s immediate neighbours, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo, have recorded confirmed cases of infections, and countries like Italy, where there is a large population of Ghanaians, have escalated their response to the outbreak.
Some observers have said the coronavirus outbreak in China will adversely affect some sectors of Ghana’s economy.
To them, Ghana does not have the capacity to produce some items it imports, the country stands at a high risk of having a negative net effect.
Already, some car spare parts dealers at Abossey Okai in Accra had earlier decried adverse effects the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in China is having on their businesses.
US$ 100 million provided to enhance preparedness
Nana Akufo-Addo also said he has directed the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, to make available the cedi equivalent of $100 million to enhance Ghana’s Coronavirus preparedness and response plan.
This amount, according to President Akufo-Addo, “is to fund the expansion of infrastructure, purchase of materials and equipment, and public education.”
He explained that with the declaration by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the Coronavirus disease as “a pandemic”, it is important that Ghana steps up her preparedness to ensure that, beyond the initial measures that have been put in place, a ‘whole of Ghana’ approach is adopted in preparation for a possible hit within the country’s borders.