The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has called on the government to waive water and electricity bills for the next three months.
It has also asked the government to implore the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to put on hold for a few months, punitive actions from the SSNIT and the GRA on institutions which were unable to meet the timelines in paying taxes and SSNIT contributions.
It also asked that all penalties imposed by the GRA and the SSNIT should be waived, pointing out that the number of those who paid tax and made SSNIT contributions were already small.
“We should not in this difficult time kill those few local enterprises,” it stated in a statement signed by its National Chairman, Nii Allotey Brew-Hammond, on the COVID-19 pandemic.
It urged the government to offer expanded safety nets for income and healthcare to avoid many people falling further into poverty due to job losses or health expenditures.
“As we work through this crisis as a nation, we need swift action from the President and Parliament in doing what is right by supporting our indigenous businesses with stimulus packages. Our dedication to working families and businesses must transcend partisanship,” it stated.
It said the government must also ensure that local businesses and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it supported were able to weather the rapid economic decline brought on by the coronavirus.
The statement further appealed to the government to “encourage the building of industries to locally produce essentials such as medical products and food to substitute for imports and domesticate the economy and create productive, sustainable jobs.
It said the government should also restrict the importation of consumer goods produced locally and provide low cost funds for local producers, adding that “Goldstar, Hyundai, Samsung and Daewoo all Korean brand names were nurtured and promoted with low-interest government loans, tax incentives and export/import facilities.”
It asked that targets be set for the Sanitation and Water Resources Ministry to clean the country of preventable diseases for productivity gains.
“It is important that we go beyond the one day cleaning of markets and take further steps to prevent our markets and public transportation facilities from becoming means for spreading the virus.
The statement reminded Ghanaians that in difficult moments such as this, they needed to take precautionary measures without being paranoid.
It pledged the support of the party to the government’s actions to prevent community spreading of the virus including restrictions on the movement of people.
It acknowledged the impact the directive on public gathering would have on political parties such as the PPP, “but they are temporary and they are necessary to slow the spread of the virus and help save lives.”
“Our party encourages all healthy Ghanaians to continue donating blood to the blood bank, while following the proper precautions to help us avoid a life-threatening blood shortage,” it said.