The Nana Addo administration although arguable effective and satisfying in terms of delivering on some campaign promises it made to the electorate during the electioneering period, it is becoming notorious for its taste for large government size and a prodigal attitude of launching projects and initiatives. In the last two years, the administration launched the Ghana Post Application, the Ekumfi juice factory, the zip line medical drones, the commencement of the construction of the National Cathedral, and even a COVID-19 Tracker App.
In this COVID-19 era where everyone is trying to avoid all kind of gatherings while observing social and physical distancing, Akufo Addo is still launching initiatives that could easily take off with a mere announcement or an address on TV.
While nations and governments are hard-pressed for money, as classical of the Nana Addo led administration, the government decided to organize a ceremony at the Jubilee house to launch Ghana’s GHS 600 million stimulus package. Maybe a quick background on what exactly the stimulus package is about.
In his fifth address, the president of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo announced that, on Tuesday, 19 May 2020, the government would launch a GHS600 million stimulus package to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that have been hit by the COVID-19. The initiative which was dubbed, the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) Business Support Scheme (CAP BuSS), to provide soft loans to MSMEs up to a total of GHS600 million to cushion businesses in the country.
It is obvious that thousands of Ghana Cedis would be spent in organizing the event at the Jubilee House. After the announcement of the launch, some Ghanaians have expressed concerns over the government’s prodigal nature of spending taxpayers’ money on launching events.
Thye remainder of the article will discuss the reasons why the government should have dealt away with the launch of Ghana’s GHS600M stimulus package.
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The move is not economically wise. In a period where financial experts have revealed and explained that Ghana’s economy is on a ‘ventilator’, in an era where the government is appealing to citizens, and institutions in the country to donate to government’s coffers to aid in the fight against the coronavirus, in a period when most businesses are collapsing, when workers are being laid off due to financial constraints and economic hardship, it was and is appropriate that whatever budget that was allocated to organizing an event for the launch of the GHS600 million stimulus package regardless of how meagre it is, be channelled to more productive and resourceful use such as supporting other businesses who were equally hit by the pandemic but maybe not meet the requirements to access the loan.
The move would lead to an increase in the government’s expenditure. Although there is a ban on social gathering and cap on the numbers of persons that would attend the launch, the event would significantly increase government’s expenditure. The higher chances are that government officials and their entourage who would be invited would be conveyed to the place in government vehicles, the movement of their vehicles facilitated by free fuels sponsored by the government, sitting allowance for all who would attend the event, as well as the cost of security, and the cost on the provision of testing kits for compulsory testing before one is allowed entry to event grounds. All these extra costs are irrelevant and unproductive especially in the COVID-19 era when the nation’s economy is almost crashing.
The event is a waste of precious time. The world is in a critical era, equally Ghana is in a critical time, especially because of the deadly novel coronavirus the nation is struggling with, and as such, it is expected that all hands be on deck at all time to see to it that, in the management of the virus, all stakeholders are actively working. Although the stimulus package is a financial sector initiative, the event would be attended by policymakers in health, health practitioners, security personnel who ordinarily are supposed to be supervising the fight against COVID-19 and ensuring the adherence to all social distancing protocols as well as other guidelines.
A Facebook post by Gabby Otchere Darko showering praises on the President and referring to the launch of the stimulus package as an indication that the NPP government is a caring one casts doubts if the launch isn’t to score political points as election approaches.
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