Mr Ofori-Atta said 83.6% of Ghanaians do not have real savings and are likely to face economic hardships if crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country.

“In Ghana, it is more devastating because when we look at the numbers for savings, 83.6% of our people do not have real savings in the event like this. We also have a situation where you have the 15 to 34 age group, in terms of economic earning potential, about 59% of them are in this category, whereas 39% are between 35 and 64. So, that create a million people that can easily be thrown out, and more significantly about seven million of our people earn below GHS7,000 a year, so, we need to look at that.”

“When you look at business establishments, we have, under the medium scale enterprises, 1.46%; the small businesses being 18.3% and the micro being 79.7%. So, it’s imperative that we intervene and intervening as per the directive of the President.”

He was speaking at the launch of the GHC600 million COVID-19 Alleviation Programme which would be administered by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI).

The Finance Minister said his ministry has also established a task force to further work on the recovery, stabilisation and revitalisation programme with a major concentration on industry and manufacturing to encourage growth, minimise job losses, and to ensure Ghana recovers quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to this, the government is also setting up a Development Bank of Ghana which will become a critical part of the post-COVID-19 strategy in rapid industrialisation and agricultural modernisation to turn Ghana into a regional hub.

The NBSSI said it is conducting a stress-test on the efficacy of its application portal before it launches the GHC600 million stimulus package for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises.

It will, however, accept manual applications in the districts in order not to exclude SMEs in the districts from accessing the facility.

The soft loan scheme will have a one-year moratorium and two-year repayment period.