COVID-19: World Bank freezes Ghana’s $500m debt repayment for 2020

President Akufo-Addo has announced that Ghana has secured a $500 million freeze in debt and interest repayment for the rest of this year from the World Bank.

Nana Akufo-Addo

Addressing the nation on Sunday (April 19, 2020), the President said this is part of a Pan-African effort to bring debt relief to Africa because of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Minister for Finance, together with his counterpart in South Africa, as co-Chairs of the Committee of African Finance Ministers, have been leading a Pan-African effort to bring debt relief to the continent in these difficult times.”

“Last Friday, they achieved a nine-month debt standstill from the World Bank for all qualifying members of the International Development Association (IDA), starting from 1st May 2020, totalling some forty-four billion United States dollars ($44 billion) for the countries of Africa,” he added.

He further noted that “In the case of Ghana, this amounts to a freeze in principal and interest payments for the year, amounting to some five hundred million United States dollars ($500 million).”

Nana Akufo-Addo said that this will create greater fiscal space to help make the Ghanaian economy more resilient.

He commended Mr Ofori-Atta, who is leading the continent’s debt relief efforts and urged him “to leave no stone unturned to achieve an even greater and comprehensive debt relief programme for Africa.”

Other Financial Interventions

The Ghanaian government has also received the GHC3 billion credit and stimulus package from commercial banks, through the Ghana Association of Bankers, with support from the Bank of Ghana, to revamp Ghanaian industries.

The stimulus package is to offer financial relief to especially the pharmaceutical companies.

Additionally, “the one billion United States-dollar- Rapid Credit Facility, secured from the International Monetary Fund, without any pre-condition, and approved by Parliament, would be used to help close the financial gap created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the President said.

The government has also allocated GHC1.2 billion, under the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme, to support households and businesses.

The government is also absorbing the full electricity bills of one million active lifeline customers and offering a 50% subsidy to the other categories of power consumers at a total cost of one billion Ghana cedis.

Meanwhile, the President has lifted the three-week partial lock-down on Greater Accra, Kumasi and Kasoa.

He, however, indicated that other restrictions, including the ban on public gatherings, public funerals, indefinite closure of schools, closure of the country’s borders are still in place.

Currently, Ghana has recorded 1,042 cases, with 9 deaths and 99 recoveries.

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