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Business News of Thursday, 28 May 2020

Source: GNA

Coronavirus: Business and trade associations urged to strengthen themselves

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A business development consultant has stressed the need for business and trade associations to build their capacities and strengthen themselves to support their members in this COVID-19 era.

Mr Nyaaba Aweeba Azongo, says the impact of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic on micro, small and medium scale businesses was very huge and it was important for the associations to device practical measures to assist their members to continue to stay in business.

“The lockdown brought stalemate to the business community, especially the small scale ones who are largely in the informal sector.

Capital depletion is the obvious consequences coupled with the low purchasing power to stimulate the economy”, Mr Azongo told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Kumasi.

He said though the government had announced a stimulus package for SMEs in the country, not all of them had the capacity as individuals, to access that credit facility to support their businesses.

It was therefore, important for business and trade associations to strengthen themselves and use their numbers as collateral to support their members to access this stimulus package and other loan schemes from the banks.

“The most practical solutions should be the strengthening of business associations and using the numbers as a collateral buffer for group scheme loans from the banks”, he pointed out.

Mr Azongo said lack of adequate support to micro, small and medium scale businesses, especially those in the informal sector, had contributed to the increasing unemployment and poverty in many households in the country.

He said the barbers, hairdressers, petty traders, table-top traders along the roadside, mechanics, shop owners, fitters, and other one-man businesses, who were in the majority in business operations in the country, needed financial support to stay on their feet amid the pandemic.

The government had announced a one billion Ghana cedis stimulus package to support SMEs, which had been seriously hit by the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The aim is to provide a soft and flexible credit facility to these groups of businesses to assist them to rebuild, maintain and expand their businesses to help reduce unemployment while sustaining the country's economy from collapsing after COVID-19.

However, Mr Azongo said it was important for business associations to step in to ensure that their benefits benefited from this package and other financial support from the banks.