The Director-General of the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA), Mr. Stephen Asamoah-Boateng believes Ghana is well positioned and far from an economic crisis resulting from the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Asamoah-Boateng who was speaking on Joy News’ PM Express, said heads of the various government institutions were directed in March by President Akufo-Addo to begin implementing contingency plans to moderate the expected effects of the pandemic on their operations and revenues.
When asked if the country was already in an economic crisis or heading into one as a result of the pandemic, Mr. Asamoah-Boateng said “No. We’ve had contingency plans put in place in March and I remember a directive from the President to all of us to prepare ourselves for an uneventful or eventful COVID-19 impact”.
According to him even though most of the institutions under SIGA have had their head offices closed down because some staff have tested positive for the virus, it has not had a major effect on the operations of their institutions because work is being done.
The Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) announced the closure of their head offices in Accra, to ensure the safety of their staff against the new coronavirus disease.
The closing down of the institutions became necessary after some staff of the two state-owned institutions tested positive for the disease following a mass testing exercise carried out by their respective managements. Despite these occurrences, Mr. Asamoah-Boateng said operations of these institutions have not been affected, adding that following the President’s directive in March, the ICT departments were given upgrades to facilitate virtual meetings for staff, management and board members.
The Director General indicated that since March, majority of the state institutions have been holding virtual meetings all aimed at reducing the numbers at the workplace and preventing a further spread of the virus.
He said the directives have gone out to all employees, board members and directors on how to engage with management in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
Mr. Asamoah Boateng said his outfit was closely monitoring all operations of SOEs and constantly reviewing happenings to stay ahead and manage its effect.
“The institutions are not shut. Their head offices are closed. We are all looking closely at our operations, interactions and reducing the numbers; so we are in constant review of what is going on. We are all worried but we are managing it”, he said.
Mr. Asamoah-Boateng said a number of CEO’s have set up ‘Offsite offices’ where they receive and sign documents, otherwise documents are scanned and sent to them to sign to ensure operations continue smoothly.
He indicated, “There is uninterrupted business going on. The continuity of government business is my concern and the concern of the President and for us we need to make sure that government business goes on.”
Mr. Asamoah Boateng also commended President Akufo-Addo for how he has handled the economy throughout the pandemic.
He said the situation would have become worse for citizens if the President had not jumped to the rescue of Ghanaians with the directives he gave to the Finance Ministry for the alleviation programme and the relief on utility bills.