Free electricity till end of year for lifeliners – Akufo-Addo

President Nana Akufo-Addo has said his government will provide free electricity supply to lifeline tariff customers until the end of the year.

In his 14th COVID-19 address to the nation on Sunday, 26 July 2020, President Nana Akufo-Addo said the electricity tariff relief, among others, is aimed at lessening the burden on that category of power consumers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The President also reiterated some other reliefs outlined by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta in the government’s mid-year budget review and how his administration intends fixing the economy post-COVID-19.

“Three days ago, the Minister of Finance, the hardworking, highly patriotic Ghanaian, Ken Ofori-Atta, went to Parliament, and gave the country a candid view of the state of affairs of our economy. Not only did he present a compelling review of the efforts put in place over the last three-and-a-half years to stabilise and grow our economy, he was also able to paint a credible picture of hope for the future, despite the ravages caused by COVID-19”, he said.

“It is reassuring to see working in real life the bold decision to implement a Relief, Resilience and Recovery plan, with the overarching aim of providing relief to the ordinary Ghanaian, and being able to find more resources to strengthen the productive sectors of the economy to ensure sustained economic activity”, the presidentnoted.

He said the government “was able to feed thousands of our people during the period of the lockdown”.

“From April to June, the government gave additional allowances to our healthcare workers, ensured free access to water for all households across the country, fully absorbed electricity bills for one million active lifeline customers, and granted a fifty percent (50%) subsidy on electricity bills of all other customers, using the March 2020 bill as the benchmark”, adding: “Through the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme, six hundred million cedis (GHS600 million) is being disbursed to support micro, small and medium scale enterprises, which have been affected by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic”.

“It bears repeating”, the President said, “that some of these incentive packages have been extended for the next three months”.

“In my thirteenth (13th) update to the nation, I announced the extension of incentive packages for health workers by another three (3) months, i.e. July, August and September.

“In the Finance Minister’s mid-year budget review, he, again, announced that all Ghanaians are to enjoy free water supply for another three months. I intend to have it reviewed at the end of the period.

“The Communication Service Tax has also been reduced from 9 per cent to 5 per cent, effective September 2020”, he stressed.

Also, he said: “Once approved by Parliament, a National Unemployment Insurance Scheme will be instituted, and will provide temporary income support to workers that have lost their jobs”.

“The government is increasing funding, under the CAP Business Support Scheme, with an additional one hundred and fifty million cedis (GHS150 million), to ensure an increased number of beneficiaries”, he noted.

Furthermore, he added, “as indicated by the Minister of Finance, the government is establishing a Guarantee Scheme of some two billion cedis (GHS2 billion) to enable businesses access credit at more affordable rates so they can survive, and better able to retain jobs”. 

“All of these reaffirm our determination to save lives, jobs and livelihoods, revitalise our economy, and safeguard the future of our country”, he pointed out.

The President assured Ghanaians that “under my watch as President of the Republic, the government will continue to work to create a diversified, transformed economy, fashion a conducive business climate that will deliver development, progress and prosperity for all Ghanaians. This is my solemn pledge to you”.

“Fellow Ghanaians, we are in the fifth month of the outbreak of COVID-19 on our shores. At first glance, it is alarming to see that thirty-two thousand, nine hundred and sixty-nine (32,969) people have so far contracted the virus. But a closer look at the data will tell you that we are steadily on the path towards limiting and containing the virus, and, ultimately, defeating it. The figure to look out for is the number of active cases”, he added.

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