Deputy regional youth organizer of Greater Accra of the National Democratic Congress, Amos Blessing Amorse, lashed out at the Akufo-Addo government for what he described as its appalling handling of funding for the prevention of the new coronavirus.
According to the vocal youth leader of the largest opposition party, the government’s dependence on the International Monetary Fund for funds to fight the global pandemic shows that the government “fell asleep when the first was reported in China until we got hit with the virus and then we started looking for money to fight it.
“I’m sorry to say this at this crucial time, but it seems our government thinks that accessing IMF funds is the same as getting an MTN Quick loan. Although the IMF has made funds available to countries that need it to fight the virus, you won’t be entering their premises today and they will hand you a bag full of cash to use. You will go through processes and it will take time. So if you have a government waiting for the IMF to release funds to start moving at a time when the virus is spreading and killing people, then you know Ghana’s case is worse than others. country, ”he said.
Mr Amorse alleged that the government has exhausted all its reserves “this is the reason why we are waiting for the IMF to release the funds that we have requested to start doing something.” No reasonable government will have funds in its reserve and will always struggle to raise funds to avoid a deadly global virus like the one we have. The money is for Ghanaians and the same people are dying so if you have the money why not spend it on the owners of the money? There is nothing in our reserves ”.
The IMF has confirmed that Ghana has requested funds to fight COVID-19. The IMF, quoting its Africa department director, Abebe Aemro Salassie, on Tuesday March 24, 2020, said Ghana last week requested a rapid disbursement of the credit facility to help fight the coronavirus.
“Last week, the IMF received Ghana’s request for disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility to help the country cope with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working hard to assess the authorities’ request and submit it to the Board for consideration as soon as possible, ”the Fund posted on its website.
Two weeks ago, the IMF announced it would provide around $ 50 billion through its fast-disbursing emergency financing facilities for low-income and emerging countries that could potentially request support.
“Of this amount, $ 10 billion is available at no interest to the poorest members through the quick credit facility,” he said.
President Nana Adoo Danquah Akufo-Addo, in a speech to the nation on Wednesday March 11, 2020, said he had asked the Minister of Finance to make the cedi equivalent of $ 100 million available to improve the Ghana’s coronavirus (COVID-19) preparedness and response. plan.
“The Minister of Finance has made the cedi equivalent of $ 100 million available to improve our preparedness and response plan against coronaviruses, that is to say finance infrastructure, purchase equipment and equipment. ‘equipment and public education,’ he said.
However, when Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta appeared before the country’s parliament to answer questions, he said the money was not available and the government at the time was in talks with the two. Bretton Woods institutions – the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to try to access a total of $ 22 billion that the two international financial institutions are making available to its member countries to fight the disease.
“We are currently in discussions with the World Bank to tap into the Bank’s $ 12 billion Fast Track COVID-19 facility to help close the funding gap. In addition, we are in discussions with the IMF to access part of a $ 10 billion facility made available by the IMF to combat the corona virus through the rapid credit facility, ”he said. in the room.
In the meantime, it is unclear what funds the government is using to tackle the problem as the country observed a day of fasting and prayer against the disease on Wednesday March 25, 2020 while awaiting the IMF facility.
Shocked by the development, youth organizer NDC said: “When the president made the announcement, some of us expected the finance minister to tell us that the money will be paid someday. specific as soon as possible and the source of it. But the finance minister told us they were in talks with the IMF. So what if the IMF bounces us back? The number of people affected keeps increasing day by day, the death toll continues to rise and we are now in talks with the IMF? Look at what other countries are doing. They mostly use domestic funds while admiring the IMF, but we are relying all our hopes on the IMF. Very sad”.