At the start of the COVID pandemic in April 2020, the Ghana government unveiled the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP), a bundle of economic stimulus measures. President Nana Akufo-Addo challenged Ministers to rethink their programmes in light of the COVID-19 epidemic in May 2020. He stated that COVID-19 had provided Ghana with an opportunity to reimagine the country; an opportunity to achieve something important and was thus to be considered as a challenge that they must accept. He charged the Minister of Finance with leading the development of a government economic stabilization and recovery plan to lessen the impact of the pandemic on Ghanaians’ lives and livelihoods, and to guarantee that the country emerges stronger and more resilient from the crisis.
Following that, the Ministry of Finance held extensive consultations with stakeholders, including an Inter-Ministerial Group led by Ministers and supported by a Technical Group comprised of senior officials; a COVID Economic Recovery Committee comprised of representatives from the Bank of Ghana, the Trades Union Congress, the Ghana Employers Association, the Association of Ghana Industries, and others; and a COVID Economic Recovery Committee comprised of representatives from the Bank of Ghana, the Trades Union Congress, the Ghana Employers Association, the Ghana Chamber of Commerce, private businesses, academics, and industry leaders, Ghana Bankers Association, Ghanaian Bankers Association, Ghanaian Bankers Association, Ghanaian Bankers Association, Diaspora professionals, as well as West Africans Coronavirus Platform in the Private Sector. The Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprise Support (Ghana CARES) Obaatanpa Programme was the result of these consultations.
Ghana CARES is a two-phase initiative that builds on the government’s initial initiatives under the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP). The Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprises Support (CARES), popularly known as the “Obaatanpa” Programme, is on track to restructure the Ghanaian economy and cushion it towards the realization of the “Ghana Beyond Aid” strategy with a GH100 billion budget.
In the first phase of the programme, which began in July 2020, the focus was on economic stabilization and solidarity for all Ghanaians. The government was able to deploy substantial interventions such as free water, free electricity, increased pay for front-line employees, and other important interventions as a result of the “Obaatanpa” Program, which helped to support the economy during the pandemic’s most critical times. Phase 1 also helped important institutions and enterprises stay afloat at a time when the global economy was on the edge of collapsing.
According to Ken Ofori Atta, Minister of Finance, Phase 2 of Ghana CARES “Obaatanpa” Program is currently in operation and will expand on Phase 1’s achievements. The current phase, according to the Minister, is aimed at industrialization through the acquisition of machinery and equipment for businesses, commercial farming support, construction financing, and technical assistance, digitization, and institutional and physical infrastructure that will position Ghana’s economy to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
He added that low industrialization and the quality of manufactured items, which frequently fail to reach international standards, are two major challenges on the African continent. The government is set to offer the enabling environment and essential assistance for all players, particularly the private sector, to flourish and support the creation of jobs and wealth for all Ghanaians, with the implementation of the AfCFTA.
The Ghana CARES Revitalization & Transformation strategy, like Ghana’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is about national survival and security. As a result, it must be treated in the same way as COVID-19 was—with a steadfast focus on implementation and monitoring. Many of the Ghana CARES Obaatanpa program’s outcomes, such as industrialization, will necessitate collaboration among the necessary MDAs as well as with the private sector.
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