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COVID Trust Fund gather GHS57m, Private Sector Fund GHS44m – Kyei

Government has said the COVID-19 National Trust Fund mobilised more than GHS57 million while the COVID-19 Private Sector Fund also raised more than GHS44 million by the end of 2020.

Giving the updates in the 2021 budget on Friday, 12 March, Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noted that “to leverage other resources to fight the pandemic, the government passed the COVID-19 National Trust Fund Act, (2020), Act 1013 in April 2020 to establish the Fund”.

“As of 31 December 2020, the Fund had mobilised GHS57,134,093.58 of which GHS45,218,313.23 had been utilised”, the Majority Leader said.

These resources, the Suame lawmaker noted, “complemented” the government’s “efforts in providing PPE and medical supplies to COVID-19 selected institutions, distribution of food items to the aged, vulnerable, and needy persons; providing vehicles to selected treatment centres, National Public Health & Reference Laboratories, testing centres, and the COVID-19 Central Care Management Team”.

“It also supported the construction of the National Infectious Disease Centre”, the Majority Leader reported.

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On the COVID-19 Private Sector Fund, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu acknowledged that “being together in this adversity, the private sector in Ghana swiftly organised and complemented the government’s effort toward fighting the pandemic”, adding: “As of December 2020, the Fund had mobilised GHS44,339,138.98 of which GHS40,203,404.70 was invested in various activities including the construction of a 100-bed National Infectious Disease Centre in Accra”.

He said the government’s “strategy to build back stronger is contained in the Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (GhanaCARES “Obaatan pa”) Programme, which was launched on 18 November 2020”.

The GHS100 billion programmme, “which is by far the boldest and biggest economic recovery programme in the country’s history, enables us to address the challenges and also seize the opportunities created by COVID-19 for socio-economic transformation”.

The ‘Obaatan pa’ programme, he explained, “will, over the next three years, transform, revitalise and modernise our economy, and return it to high and sustained growth”.

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The key projects under the CARES Programme include:

a) supporting and attracting educated youth into commercial farming; b) building the country’s light manufacturing sector targeting agro-processing and food import-substitution, pharmaceuticals and textiles & garments sub-sectors;

c) developing engineering/machine tools and ICT/digital economy industries;

d) fast tracking digitalisation; e) developing Ghana’s housing & construction industry to support local construction companies to participate in the hospital construction programme under the Agenda 111+ scheme;

f) establishing Ghana as a Regional Hub;

g) reviewing and optimising the implementation of Government flagships and key programmes; and

h) creating jobs for young people, and expanding opportunities for the vulnerable in society, including persons with disabilities.

The interim Finance Minister said “this year, the government will embark on dedicated actions to operationalise the programme by establishing delivery units in the relevant MDAs with clear milestones. We will partner the private sector, academia and other practitioners to facilitate and monitor implementation of the programme.”

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“Our quest for transformation and higher manufacturing output under CARES”, he added, “will be complemented by sustained efforts on technical and vocational skills, mostly in the targeted sectors, while enhancing the collaboration between industry and managers of technical education”.

“The skills development partnership with the faith-based organisations will catalyse the drive toward this objective”.