Government has asked Parliament to approve a financial agreement that will enable it to access the 25.5 million Special Drawing Right package (equivalent to US$35 million) from the International Development Association (IDA), a member of the World Bank Group.
The money is to finance the Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project in the face of increasing number of infected cases in the country.
The Special drawing rights (abbreviated SDR, ISO 4217 currency code XDR (numeric: 960)) are supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets defined and maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
So far, the World Bank Group is making available an initial package of up to US$14 billion in immediate support to assist countries to cope with the health and economic impacts of the global outbreak of COVID-19.
Deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Osei-Asare, on behalf of the Minister of Finance, presented papers for Parliamentary approval, which the Speaker, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, referred to the Finance Committee for consideration.
On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta told Parliament that the government was in discussion with the World Bank to tap into a US$12 billion World Bank Group fast-track COVID-19 facility to help Ghana close its financing gap in the 2020 budget.
The minister had said that preliminary analysis undertaken by his ministry showed that the novel coronavirus would negatively impact on the nation’s petroleum receipts due to the collapse of international crude oil prices, custom receipts, expenditures and financial conditions on the fiscal front.
He disclosed that the COVID-19 was already affecting tourism, travels and conferences, foreign direct investment, international trade, food and nutrition, and poverty reduction.
He indicated, however, that measures were being put in place to close a possible financial gap in the 2020 budget that could result from the impact of the coronavirus, and mentioned the World Bank Group fast-track COVID-19 facility as one of the many options to go for.
According to him, the measures also included withdrawal from the Ghana Stabilization Fund occasioned by anticipated shortfalls in the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).
He added that government was discussing with IMF to access part of a US$10 million facility that had been made available to address coronavirus through the Rapid Credit Facility.
By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House