NPP MP Stephen Amoah’s claim the whole country stopped work during COVID-19, false

On Saturday, March 11, 2023, the deputy minister-designate for Trade and Industry, Dr. Stephen Amoah, appeared on Joy FM’s News File programme to discuss a number of topical issues.

During the discussions, he claimed that at a point during the COVID-19 pandemic, workers in the whole country stopped going to work.

Dr Amoah, who is also the Member of Parliament for Nhyiaeso, made the comment while justifying COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war as the government’s long-held reasons for Ghana’s current economic crisis. His claim was in rebuttal to a political risk analyst, Dr. Theo Acheampong, who had discredited the government’s assertions that COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war sunk Ghana’s economic ship.

Dr. Acheampong blamed the government’s high appetite for borrowing as the cause of the crippling economic challenges.

In the course of advancing his argument, Dr. Stephen Amoah made the following claim:

Claim: “Borrowing has gone up. It’s a fact. But we have something called uncontrollable factors when you are appraising somebody’s performance. We had a long period of impaired productivity, uncontrollably, in this country. Where even we asked peopled not to go to work, but they were paid in our country. In fact, at a point, even the whole country had to stop going to work.”

Fact-check Ghana has verified this claim and presents the verdict below.

Verdict: False


On March 27, 2020, President Akufo-Addo announced a partial lockdown in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, Kasoa, and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area.

On April 19, 2020, three weeks later, he lifted the partial lockdown in his seventh address to the nation on measures taken by the government to ease the restrictions.

The above-mentioned areas were the only locations in the country where the movements of citizens were restricted in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

Even at this time, essential workers, including in the health sector, media, utility service providers, and security services were working.

When Fact-check Ghana on March 14, 2023, contacted the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Rev. Charlotte Hanson, she told Fact-Check Ghana that there was no period during the peak of the pandemic that workers in the whole country were asked to stop going to work.

“There was a letter issued that we should all stay at home. But even with that some people still came to work. Subsequently, we started applying flexible working hours. So, some would come, and others would go. But in the course of the week, you appear two or three times,” she told Fact-check Ghana.

From the above, it is evident that although COVID-19 affected productive work in Ghana, there was no period during the pandemic when the country’s entire workforce stopped working.

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