President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana

Coronavirus lockdown unbearable for economy, says Ghana

* Reveals 90% of population informal, earn daily wages

Web Editor | ConsumerConnect

A 21-day lockdown of Ghana’s biggest cities became financially unbearable for most of the Ghanaian population, a concern that gave the country’s government little choice when it lifted the restrictions recently, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has said.

Agency report says that Ghana, which identified its first two Coronavirus cases on March 12, 2020, was the first in sub-Saharan Africa to ease movement restrictions after ramping up its testing capacity.

With at least 160,000 people tested, more than any other on the continent apart from South Africa, the number of confirmed cases has risen almost fivefold to 5,127 since the lockdown was lifted on April 20.

“Given that 90% of our population is informal and they go out each day to earn wages, it became increasingly impossible to continue with such a policy,” said Ofori-Atta, in a speech in Accra, the Ghanaian capital.

The lockdown, report stated, had curtailed access to supplies and food prices surged 14.4% in April from a year earlier, says a Bloomberg report.

That’s almost double the average rate of price growth for the previous eight months, and the highest since December 2016.

The disease has brought three years of economic expansion of 6% or more to a sudden halt in the nation of 30 million people, with the finance ministry forecasting that growth could slow to 1.5%, the least in 37 years.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to $1 billion in emergency funds to Ghana in April while a debt standstill from the World Bank will free up $500 million in interest and principal payments.

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