Ghana Banks Extend Relief Measures as Virus Resurgence Risks Recovery

Ghana banks are extending relief measures to cushion clients from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic as a resurgence in the number of infections threatens an economic recovery.

Lenders are retaining measures such as reduced borrowing costs, restructured credit facilities and repayment holidays to customers into 2021 to “ensure that the wheels of the economy continue grinding,” John Awuah, chief executive officer of the Ghana Association of Bankers, said by phone Thursday. New deadlines will be decided with the central bank after most programs ended at the end of December, he said.

A spike since December in the number of new cases, including that of a new strain, threatens to bring with it re-imposition of lockdown restrictions that could hinder an expansion in West Africa’s second-biggest economy.The government in October forecast gross domestic product growth will rebound to 5.7% in 2021 from a maximum estimate of 2% for 2020.

“When the 2021 growth rate was set, Covid-19 infections were on the downside,” Awuah said. “We have seen that hotels are not back to their pre-Covid levels, aviation is still struggling, transport is not back to where it was before Covid-19, education is not in full motion.”

Ghana is recording more than 600 daily new cases of the virus from 100 daily infections earlier this month.

READ: Ghana to Reopen Schools on Jan. 15 After March Closure

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