The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on all of our lives and budgets.
It is the expectation of economists that the economy will rebound but it is prudent for the country to budget conservatively during this time.
What this means is that each family and organization in the country also need to be extra cautious in making expenses and doing very capital intensive projects.
You will find the proposed government budget scaled down with emphasis on cost savings while maintaining the high level of services upon which Ghanaians rely. Services like education, sanitation, housing, health, legal, roads and highway, electricity and water, fire service, drains, food and agricultural services and others.
Projects which do not have additional funding sources will be delayed until next year and each government department will look for ways to spend below their budgeted amount.
Ghana has weathered hard times in the past and I am certain we will emerge from this current situation even better than before.
As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated beginning in the second half of March 2020, most of our government businesses were negatively affected, with the effects to date ranging from relatively minor to severe.
Revenues and earnings of most of Ghanaian manufacturing, service and retailing businesses declined considerably, and in certain instances severely, in the last quarter due to closures of facilities where crowds gather, such as retail stores, restaurants and entertainment venues, public travel restrictions and from closures of our schools.
Tax revenue declined overall due to the adverse impact of the Pandemic on small and medium size businesses. Our government projects that are deemed essential have continued to operate through the pandemic, including our railroad, utilities and energy, insurance and certain of our manufacturing, wholesale distribution and service businesses.
In response to the effects of the pandemic, our government have implemented various agency continuity plans to protect workforce and the average Ghanaian.
Such plans include a variety of actions, such as temporarily closing certain retail stores, manufacturing facilities and service centers of businesses.
Our government have also implemented practices to protect employees while at work.
Such practices have included work-from-home, reduced work schedules, increased cleaning and sanitation of work spaces, providing health screenings, eliminating non-essential travel and face-to-face meetings and providing general health reminders intended to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19.
We have taken actions in response to the economic losses from reductions in consumer demand for products and services and our inability to produce goods and provide services.
These actions have included wage and salary adjustment, salary protection with Covid-relief programs, capital spending reductions and other actions intended to help mitigate the economic losses and preserve capital and liquidity.
Certain of our government agencies are undertaking and will likely continue to undertake restructuring activities that will resize their operations to better fit expected community demand.
We cannot reliably predict future economic effects of the pandemic or when business activities at our numerous and diverse government operations will normalize.
Nor can we predict how these events will alter the future consumption patterns of people and businesses we serve.
Ultimately, the future of our country depends largely on our individual efforts and adherence to the protocols.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ghana has taken action to save lives by mitigating active community transmission of Covid-19, including stay-at- home recommendation and instituting the use of face mask, thorough hand washing, use of sanitizers and physical distancing.
We are preparing further to secure a reliable supply chain of personal protective equipment (PPE) expanding Covid-19 testing capacities and building additional health care capacity.
We are working hard to become a leader in responding to the pandemic and developing a path for economic recovery and resilience.
We need to prepare and expand the health care system for a surge of cases, as well as provide for the necessary support for people and institutions like schools, and healthcare facilities. Our individual actions make a difference. Fewer, shorter and safer interactions are crucial.
When you go out, keep it quick, keep your distance and wear a face covering.
Limit the number of people outside your household that you gather with every week. If you feel symptoms of COVID-19, get tested.
Gathering in groups—even with people we know—may spread COVID-19.
The safest action, especially if you’re in a high-risk category, is to avoid gatherings and find different ways to celebrate. This includes ideas for how to gather virtually as well as suggestions on how to gather safely.
I am convinced that the NPP government has done a great deal of work to manage the pandemic, and the healthcare institutions and personnel in the country have been of tremendous help. I must commend the health advisory team helping the President to chart this challenging path.
We are excited about vaccines that will be rolled out.
The ambulance services, media and news agencies, testing and contact tracing efforts and treatment centers have been a huge support to mitigating the spread.
Certainly, the series of Presidential address on Covid-19 has been very educative and instructive to the nation, for which I am grateful for. I want to take this moment to thank each health worker from the orderly, to the highest ranking health personnel in Ghana. God bless us all with grace, long life and prosperity. Thanks.
Hon. Dr Adomako Kissi
Member of Parliament