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FALSE: The Government of Ghana is not giving out GHS 400 Relief Funds to citizens

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A viral WhatsApp message claims the government is giving out free GHS400 relief funds to each citizen. 

The claim has been debunked by the Information Ministry. Additionally, neither the Finance Minister nor the President has mentioned this initiative in their addresses to the nation. 

Full text 

Not long after the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta presented the 2020 mid-year budget review to parliament, a message was circulating on Ghanaian Whatsapp platforms claiming that the government of Ghana has approved, and has started paying out free GHS 400 relief funds to each citizen. 

The message includes a link for people to access the purported funds.

Verification

Dubawa noted some inconsistencies in the message. 

Firstly, the message which claims that each citizen will be given GHS 400 for free, however, states that the claim is limited, thereby requiring readers to access the link instantly.

Also, Dubawa noted that for a relief fund purported to be an initiative from the Ghana government to its citizens, it uses the Nigerian coat of arms as the logo. 

Moreso, on Thursday 23 July 2020, when Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance presented the 2020 mid-year fiscal policy review to parliament, there was no allocation of 400 Ghana cedis as a relief fund to each Ghanaian citizen mentioned in the budget review.

Also, the President of Ghana, Nana Akuffo-Addo on Sunday 26 July 2020 updated Ghanaian citizens on measures taken by the government to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The President did not mention any such initiative by the government to give citizens GHS 400 as a relief fund in his address to the nation.

Rather, the free incentive to all Ghanaian citizens mentioned by both the Finance Minister and the President to be accessed by Ghanaians is the free supply of water for the next three months, which is intended to be reviewed at the end of the period. 

Additionally, below is a list of  the President’s highlights during his address, in relation to funds, schemes, and incentives for Ghanaians:

  1. Coronavirus Alleviation Programme -an amount of 600 million Ghana cedis is being provided to the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme to support micro, small and medium scale enterprises. 
  2. Health Workers Incentive Packages – an extension of these incentives for the months of July, August, and September.
  3. Free electricity supply to lifeline tariff customers until the end of the year. 
  4. Communication Service Tax-  a reduction from 9 per cent to 5 per cent, from September 2020.
  5. National Unemployment Insurance Scheme – an initiative awaiting approval from Parliament which will be established to provide temporary income support to workers who have lost their jobs.
  6. CAP Business Support Scheme- an increment in government funding with an additional one hundred and fifty million cedis (GH¢150 million), for more beneficiaries to access.
  7. Guarantee Scheme – Two billion cedis (GH¢2 billion) will be provided to enable businesses access credit at more affordable rates for the survival and retention of their businesses.

Dubawa further contacted the Deputy Information Minister, Pius Hadzide, concerning the claim, who stated that it is false.

“It is false. The Government is offering relief through the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) but it is way more than that,” Pius Hadzide said.

Conclusion

The claim that the government of Ghana is giving free 400 Ghana cedis to each citizen as a relief fund is false. The message has errors and contradictions in wording and is put on a Nigerian coat of arms and logo, instead of Ghana’s, the owner of the purported initiative. This proves the claim’s lack of authenticity. 

Furthermore, neither the President nor the Finance Minister who have both addressed the nation over the last few days, have mentioned such an initiative by the government. The office of the Ministry of Information has also confirmed the claim to be false.

Maxine Gloria Danso is a Senior Researcher with Dubawa Ghana. Maxine has previously worked as a Research Assistant engaging in some notable communication research projects in Ghana, having completed a Master of Philosophy programme in Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, with specialisation in journalism, public relations and advertising. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and French from the University of Ghana, with a University Diploma in French Studies from Université Rennes 2 in France. Maxine contributes to the team by drawing from her knowledge and research experience in media studies.

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