President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, lauding Ghanaian workers for their contribution towards national socio-economic advancement over the years, Friday said the impact of COVID-19 on the national economy has been severe.
He has, therefore, directed the Ministry of Finance and Bank of Ghana to work together to design innovative policies to revive the economy.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 2.7 billion workers would lose their jobs globally due to the lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The growth of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is also expected to tumble from seven per cent averagely to 2.5 per cent in the worst case scenario.
President Akufo-Addo, who was speaking at a virtual May Day celebration, organized by the Organised Labour and Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), nonetheless, expressed, gratitude to workers for their contributions and sacrifices towards the development of the country’s economy.
“The relationship between Government and Organized Labour has been cordial and of mutual respect since I became President,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
May Day, usually celebrated nationwide through parades by worker unions, was held virtually from the studios of the GBC in accordance with the social distancing and safety protocols to prevent the spread of the new Coronavirus.
It is on the theme, “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Economy and Working Conditions”.
President Akufo-Addo mentioned some interventions rolled out by his government to provide relief to Ghanaians following the COVID-19 outbreak.
These include the 1.2 billion Ghana cedi Alleviation Programme, a -600- million Ghana cedi soft loans to small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), with one-year moratorium and two – year repayment, tax rebates for health workers and 50 per cent top-up of basic salary, for frontline health workers.
Others are free water supply to all Ghanaians, free electricity supply to lifeline consumers and a 50 per cent subsidy for the other residential, commercial and enterprise consumers, for three months from April.
Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, Secretary-General of Trades Union Congress (TUC), in his welcome address, urged the government to implore commercial banks to allow businesses to access loans under flexible terms of payment.