Ken Ofori-Atta

Ghana loses $1b in domestic revenue as coronavirus shuts economy

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, says the country has lost more than one billion dollars of revenue, as Ghana’s economy comes to a standstill in order to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

In an opinion article originally published in the Financial Times, the Minister tells about how government has quickly put in place measures to curb the spread of the disease in the country.

But despite all those good efforts, Mr Ofori-Atta worries about revenue and said “I have, in one fell swoop, lost more than $1 billion of revenue as domestic taxes continue to shrink, compounded by lost productivity and job losses.

“We still have an obligation to service our debt portfolio,” he added.

Ghana has recorded 614 cases of Covid-19. While 83 people have fully recovered from the disease, eight have died. Ten out of Ghana’s 16 regions have recorded cases with the capital, Accra’s cases being the highest at 514.

With the country in the third week of a partial lockdown which has affected the two major cities, Accra and Kumasi as well as Kasoa and Tema, most businesses have shut. This includes hotels and a stay at home order means most markets and trading centres are empty.

For an economy which is over 90 percent informal, growth in GDP, which was projected at 6.8 percent, could fall to 1.5 per cent leaving Mr Ofori-Atta worried.

“How long can we sustain this,” he asks himself.

“We are focusing on three priorities: presenting to parliament on the alleviation programme; a post-Covid-19 strategy for a more resilient economy; and a co-ordinated African effort to get support for international debt relief.”