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Business News of Thursday, 20 February 2020

Source: Eye on Port

GUTA Greater Accra Chairman predicts fall in cargo volumes due to Coronavirus in China

The Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), David Kwadwo Amoateng, has predicted a decline in cargo volumes at the country’s port, due to factors related to the coronavirus outbreak emerging from the Far East.

“I can say this without any shred of doubt, that we will see cargoes going down,” he said.

Speaking to Eye on Port, on the topic: Coronavirus, A Global Threat to Trade and Shipping: Impact, Interventions and Remedies, the GUTA Greater Accra Regional Chairman, revealed that not only are maritime activities in the area decreasing, but commercial activities within the cities in China have also taken a sudden decline due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease.

“When you go there you will see a lot of countries trying to evacuate their people there. That tells you the level of activities that go on there,” he said.

He disclosed that many Chinese factories are on a break due to the coronavirus crisis which has definitely taken a toll on Ghanaian businesses who trade heavily with China.

“The people there that you’re going to buy from them have closed their shops. Some have moved to their villages. Even one of my suppliers sent a video saying he’s vacated his shop”.

David Kwadwo Amoateng admitted that the Hubei province, where Wuhan is situated, is a commercial hub where many Ghanaians trade, but his fellow traders would have to halt all business travels there and many other close areas to protect themselves from contracting this dangerous disease.

He also urged traders to either take the opportunity to enjoy a period of leave or consider alternative destinations for business plans, while they wait on world health institutions to eradicate this global epidemic.
“As businessmen, we hardly take our leave, so we should use this time to rest,” he said.

He expressed disapproval when addressing the alternative of online trading and cautioned traders not to hurriedly venture into online trading with their Chinese counterparts because there could be dire consequences.
“I’ll advise everybody not to gamble with his hard-won currency. Never do online business with a Chinese company,” he exclaimed.

On the same program, the GUTA Regional Chairman expressed discontentment towards the government’s reluctance in heeding to his outfit’s suggestions regarding ways of improving the value of the cedi.

“Let our leaders listen to us. They shouldn’t take it lightly when we tell them these things. They should sit down and analyse it. The kind of economics that go down in Makola, or Market Circle in Takoradi or Kejetia or Suame, you have no idea!”.

He opined that the seeming positive performance of the cedi over the recent months is due to the Chinese who trade in Ghana, not having returned the foreign exchange to their country, hence keeping the dollar less scarce than it usually is by this time of the year.

“With the infiltration of the Chinese, after Christmas, the dollar begins to go up. But now, it is coming down, because they are here. They were beginning to go then the virus outbreak came up,” he revealed.

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