By Francis Ameyibor, GNA
Accra, Oct. 28, GNA – The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has developed a post-COVID-19 transformation plan to Stabilise, Revitalise and Transform Ghana against pandemic’s unpredictability.
The NPP Post-COVID transformation plan tagged: “The Ghana COVID Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises” (Ghana CARES) Programme is Ghana Beyond Aid in Action.
The NPP in its Election 2020 Manifesto, explained that the implementation of the Ghana CARES programme would restore growth to Pre Covid-19 levels.
The NPP explained that the Ghana CARES programme would return the fiscal path within the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2018 (Act 982) threshold of 5 per cent deficit and positive primary balance by 2023.
It said under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, through the Ghana CARES programme the country is already benefiting from the Stabilisation Phase (July to December 2020).
The NPP considers as priority interventions that ensure food security and that protect businesses and jobs. Given this, the Stabilisation phase seeks to increase the original GH¢600 million soft loan programme, dubbed the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme-Business Support Scheme (CAP-BuSS).
An additional GH¢150 million would be added to support MSMEs and also, the Creative Arts, the Media, and the Conference of Independent Universities (GH¢50 million).
It would also establish a GH¢2 billion Guarantee Facility to support all large enterprises and for job retention, this will enable these businesses borrow from banks at affordable rates and over long tenors to adjust to the pandemic
On Measures to retain jobs, a GH¢100 million Fund would be set up for Labour and Faith-Based Organisations for retraining and skills development (Retraining Programme).
It would establish an Unemployment Insurance Scheme to provide temporary income support to workers who are laid off due to the pandemic.
To ensure food security for the rest of the year, the next government would intensify support to the “Planting for Food and Jobs” and “Rearing for Food and Jobs” programmes.
The next NPP government would provide financial support for the National Buffer Stock Company and the Ghana Commodity Exchange, and set up a Food Security Monitoring Committee.
The next NPP government would implement a range of employee retention and support services to large enterprises, including clearing contractor arrears, paying new contractors more quickly, and increase government procurement for local businesses.
The NPP explained that through “Agenda 111” (originally labelled Agenda 88) the government would increase momentum to construct a 100-bed hospital in 101 districts that currently lack such facilities, as well as a regional hospital in each of the six new regions.
The NPP reiterated that a new regional hospital would be constructed in the Western Region, rehabilitate Effia-Nkwanta Hospital, build two new psychiatric hospitals, and set up infectious disease centres for each of the three ecological zones.
It said it would upscale the Agenda 111 project to build local capacity in the housing and construction industry, strengthen the housing mortgage and construction finance scheme, and take measures to facilitate access to land for housing by estate developers.
The next phase of Ghana CARES would focus on the revitalisation and transformation phase (2021 to 2023) over this period, “we will invest in activities aimed at accelerating the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
“We will pursue the establishment of Ghana as a regional hub by leveraging the siting of the Secretariat of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Ghana, and include the establishment of the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC)”.
The NPP through its Election 2020 Manifesto also seeks to review and optimise the implementation of Government flagships such as 1D1F, PFJ, and Free SHS that depend primarily on Government’s budget finance for greater results.
The PFJ initiative with a targeted programme to support the activities of the Ghana Tree Crop Development Authority in promoting selected cash crops, support commercial farming and attract educated youth into agriculture.
“We seek to build Ghana’s light manufacturing sector, including our capabilities to manufacture machine tools to support our industrialisation and fast-track digitisation of government business as well as build a digital economy.
“We will strengthen the enablers of growth and transformation by taking strong measures to improve the business environment for the private sector,” the NPP stated.
The NPP said the Revitalisation and Transformation phase of the Ghana CARES programme is estimated to cost some GH¢100 billion, about a third of which would be funded by central government, the rest being crowded-in from the private sector.
It recounted that the pandemic has created major disruptions in the lives and livelihoods of citizens, in business, industry, trade and commerce, and to macro-fiscal stability.
“Throughout the ongoing crisis, the Government of Nana Akufo-Addo has provided effective leadership and acted as the custodian and guardian of our public health.
“We have learnt major lessons in the process and will incorporate these lessons in our planning for future growth and development,” the NPP stated.