The Member of Parliament for Okaikwei Central, Patrick Boamah, has lambasted former President John Mahama for promising to write off loans disbursed to businesses who benefited from the COVID-19 stimulus package.
According to the MP, the promise by the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) presidential candidate is unfortunate.
As part of his campaign tour of the Greater Accra Region, Mr. Mahama told the residents of Dawhenya in the Ningo Prampram constituency that, loans accessed by traders under the COVID-19 stimulus package will not be re-paid if he is elected President of Ghana on December 7.
“They are disbursing the loans to NPP people. For the amount left too, persons disbursing the COVID-19 stimulus fund are telling beneficiaries that, if they vote for Nana Akufo-Addo, the loan will not be retrieved from them but if they vote for Mahama, I will retrieve the loan when I come to power. Such political comments should not be encouraged. They are disbursing the money from the Stabilization Fund. I established the Stabilisation Fund. The Stabilisation Fund was established as a contingency measure and for disbursement during Coronavirus-like situations. So if COVID-19 hits Ghana and warranted the need for the usage of the Stabilisation Fund established by me, it is pointless to tell people that I will retrieve the loan from them. Let me also say that, If I also come to power, I won’t retrieve the loan from the beneficiaries,” he said.
But in an interview with Citi News, the Okaikwei North MP slammed the NDC presidential candidate and urged him to desist from endorsing what he described as an illegality.
He stated that the defaulters of the loans need to make payments so that others can benefit from the stimulus package.
“You’re talking about people not paying for facilities they have gone for. The former president terming them as freebies is quite unfortunate because, people who haven’t benefited are expecting those who have to pay up to do so, so that they can also have access to those funds, to be able to undertake their business plans.”
“He should go to Okaishie, Malata, and Lapaz; all the training hubs and everyone who has benefited from the small loans as a result of the COVID-19 problems that the whole world encountered are appreciative of governments support.”
Akufo-Addo announces stimulus packages
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on April 5, announced a soft loan scheme of up to GH¢600 million for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), which would sustain the country’s affected industries and address the disruption in economic activities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to this, he had announced a GHS1 billion stimulus package to households and businesses, particularly SMEs, under a Coronavirus Alleviation Programme.
On Friday, March 27, 2020, in a televised address on enhanced measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, Akufo-Addo said the Alleviation Programme was to address the disruption in economic activities, the hardship of the people, and to rescue and revitalize the industries.
The National Board for Small Scale Industries was given the mandate to disburse the stimulus package to SMEs affected by the pandemic.