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Why the need to fall on Heritage Fund in Covid-19 fight 

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta
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Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta has justified the decision to fall on the Heritage Fund to support the stimulus packages for businesses in the Covid-19 fight.

 This according to the Minister is to undertake urgent expenditures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta yesterday called for the amendment of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) to allow the government to utilize portions of the Heritage Fund to fight the Covid-19.

“Amend the PRMA to allow a withdrawal from the Ghana Heritage Fund to undertake emergency expenditures in periods of national emergency. There is an estimated US$591.1 million in the Ghana Heritage Fund,” the Finance Minister told Parliament on Monday.

The Minister is also seeking the support of Parliament to amend the relevant laws to lower the cap of the Stabilisation Fund from $300 million to $100 million to enable the government scoop the excess funds to bridge the gap created by the economic impact of the pandemic.

READ ALSO : Fighting Covid-19, Heritage Fund should be the last resort - Economist

“Mr. Speaker… Since we are faced with extraordinary circumstances which require extraordinary measures, we would like to propose the following measures for the consideration and support of the House – Lower the cap on the Ghana Stabilisation Fund (GSF) from the current US$300 million to US$100 million in accordance with Section 23 (3) of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA).”

The Heritage Fund under the Petroleum laws is supposed to be set aside for future generations. There is an estimated 591.1 million cedis in the fund.

Explaining further his reasons for us to fall on the Heritage Fund in a media interview, he said, "I guess the question one asks is when do you make a decision to use any resource, even when everybody is dying will you still keep it? that is for the House to debate it. I think we all see everything that is happening and you ask yourself whether you can deploy fast enough, this request is not included in our measures so it really a question to Parliament........... there are certain laws and maybe when these events happen is when you begin to look whether you will cut yourself of it or not..."

He stated that at this point there is a need to put in place measures to make sure everyone survives.

"As I mentioned the poverty....... are stuck we have 23.4% of our population about 7-8 million receiving under 17 hundred cedis a year, clearly, when you have an event of this magnitude it calls for finding means of which one can support to make sure that there is life."