Show of Leadership in Crises: Interventions to Reduce Impact of COVID 19 on Individuals and Businesses

Show of Leadership in Crises: Interventions to Reduce Impact of COVID 19 on Individuals and Businesses

The world over, all countries are grappling with how to deal with the novel corona virus outbreak in their countries or potential outbreaks. Since the first detected case of the virus in the Wuhan Province of China, it has spread to virtually all countries in the world. As part of the measures to reduce the spread of the virus, governments the world over have had to impose conditions that have numerous social and economic consequences.

Since the official confirmation of the first two cases of COVID-19 virus in the country on 12th March 2020, the government of Ghana acted swiftly with a series of interventions to limit the spread of the virus in Ghana. Apart from the standard personal sanitation and social distance rules which the government has used various media to educate the general public, it has had to impose other interventions with social and economic ramifications. Among such are: the closing of the nation’s borders; restrictions on social gathering such as parties and funerals; restrictions on religious gatherings; closure of schools among others.

“We know how to bring the economy back to life. What we do not know is how to bring people back to life”

– His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo

Since the official confirmation of the first two cases of covid-19 virus in the country on 12th March 2020, the government of Ghana acted swiftly with a series of interventions to limit the spread of the virus in Ghana. Apart from the standard personal sanitation and social distance rules which the government has used various media to educate the general public, it has had to impose other interventions with social and economic ramifications. Among such are: the closing of the nation’s borders; restrictions on social gathering such as parties and funerals; restrictions on religious gatherings; closure of schools among others.

The president being fully aware of the impact of the covid-19 measures on businesses and individuals introduced a series of measures alongside with the Central Bank. For businesses some of the monetary policy measures include:

  • Cutting key interest rate to 8-year low from 16% to 14.5%;
  • Lowering reserve requirements for lenders from 10% to 8% in order to provide liquidity support to critical sectors;
  • Decrease in the banks’ conservation buffer from 3% to 1.5%, which cuts the capital-adequacy ratio from 13% to 11.5%.
  • Asked the IMF for a rapid disbursement of a credit facility to help the country face the negative economic impact caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
  • The Bank of Ghana has decided to decrease the cost of fund transfers through mobile money, in order to avoid a low in transactions. Besides, no mobile money transactions below GH100 (USD18) will be charged by service suppliers for the next three months.
  • A “soft loan scheme” totally GH¢600 million to micro, small and medium scale enterprises.

The government of Ghana announced absorbing water bills for all Ghanaians for three months (April, May and June 2020), and put in measures to ensure the availability of potable water in numerous communities. Furthermore, the government decided to absorb 50% of all electricity bills for three months as well. The electricity subsidy alone is estimated to cost government about GH¢1 billion. Additionally, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Local Government Ministry and National Disaster Management Organisation were directed by the president to provide food packages to about 400,000 individuals and homes affected when the government instituted lockdowns in some communities across the nation.

Frontline staff dealing with the virus on daily basis have also not been left out. The interventions targeted at them included a 50% salary allowances, a GH₵350,000.00 insurance package, free transportation service, a tax waiver on salaries for the front-line health workers engaged in the combat against the deadly virus. Furthermore, each of the contact tracers will also receive a daily allowance of GH¢150.00. Government has also given incentives to local pharmaceutical and apparel firms to be producing personal protective equipment (PPE) in Ghana to fight the virus. A lot of firms are producing sanitizers and robbing alcohol.

There are numerous events that can trigger crises in every nation. Whenever such events occur you require leaders who will be decisive in making the hard choices and still keep a human face in their decision making. The interventions put in place to limit the impact of the covid-19 measures shows good leadership in times of crises.

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