THE MINISTER of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, says preliminary analysis undertaken by his ministry shows that the coronavirus (COVID-19) will impact negatively on petroleum receipts in particular.
He said it is due to the collapse of international crude oil prices, custom receipts, expenditures and financial conditions on the fiscal front.
According to him, the COVID-19 has also begun affecting tourism, travels and conferences, foreign direct investment, international trade, food and nutrition, and poverty reduction.
He indicated, however, that measures were being put in place to close a possible financial gap in the 2020 budget that could result from the impact of the pandemic.
These measures, he noted, included withdrawal from the Ghana Stabilization Fund occasioned by anticipated shortfalls in the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).
“We will come to this august House to seek the necessary approvals in due course,” the Finance Minister stated, and added that government was in discussion with the World Bank to tap into a US$12 billion World Bank Group fast-track COVID-19 facility to help close the financial gap.
In addition, Mr. Ofori-Atta said the government was again discussing with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to access part of a US$10 million facility that was made available by the IMF to address coronavirus through the Rapid Credit Facility.
“We are also discussing with other multilateral and bilateral partners on potential assistance to close the financial gap,” he indicated further.
The Finance Minister, nevertheless, said Ghana was blessed even in the difficult global circumstances, and appointed to the House’s approval for the government to raise US$3 billion from the Eurobond Market this year.
“The ministry worked tirelessly and successfully and raised the US$3 billion at the best rates in our history,” he stated, and added that the capital market had since collapsed.
He said the timely issuance of the Eurobonds had provided the necessary buffers to support the economy in these grave times and thanked God for His mercies on Ghana.
“Mr. Speaker, we continue to believe in 2nd Chronicles 7:14, ‘If my people, which care called by my name shall humble themselves … I will heal their land,” he said.
Mr. Ofori-Atta said the nation was confident that with “our President’s vision and leadership as well as our discipline as a nation and God’s guiding hands, He shall spare us and prosper us, even in these trying times.”
By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House