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Business News of Monday, 29 June 2020

Source: thebftonline.com

Survey confirms SME sector hardest hit by coronavirus

Mark Badu-Aboagye, CEO of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), has noted that anxiety is high in the SME sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He made the disclosure at the B&FT’s online forum, ‘Ghana’s Most Respected CEOs’, held late last week. The anxiety, he noted, is due to factors such as income reduction, job insecurity for employees, personal safety and family and domestic uncertainties – situations which according to him makes it difficult for people to determine what might happen in the near-future.

Badu-Aboagye made the assertion based on a survey conducted by the GNCCI, which established that the most-hit business sector as a result of the pandemic is the SME sector. He observed that because most don’t have the financial muscle to survive over a long period of time, with the reduction in their revenue and increasing costs, most of them have collapsed.

“This means employees and workforces are also at home, and so anxiety within the SME sector is high.” Mr. Badu-Aboagye suggested that, going forward, organisations need to prioritise business continuity plans and adopt risk mitigation measures, since the global pandemic’s onset has negatively impacted the world of work and created anxiety among workforces.

B&FT’s Most Respected CEOs breakfast series webinar, held last week, hosted human resource management experts who deliberated on the theme ‘Managing an Anxious Workforce During and Post COVID-19 for Business Continuity’.

The GNCCI revelation comes at a time the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has begun initial disbursements of government’s COVID-19 stimulus package to cushion MSMEs under the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme and provide support for MSMEs which have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The fund is endowed with GH¢1 billion.

NBSSI Executive Director, Mrs. Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, noted that the various Associations which represented the MSMEs mostly did not have data on members. Under the circumstances, she says, it was difficult to determine their location, size and other data to qualify them for access to the support.

To this end, Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh is clamouring for the country to possess the right data to identify and give support to Ghana’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), in order to serve the sector better. This is rather unfortunate, because after suffering inactivity during the partial lockdown they do not have proper documentation to qualify for the stimulus – and will probably have to go under.

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