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Business News of Friday, 21 February 2020


Coronavirus may have negative impact on Ghana, gov’t must prepare – Terkper

Seth Terkper, Former Finance Minister Seth Terkper, Former Finance Minister

Former Finance Minister Seth Terkper has admonished government to take seriously, the thought of a possible impact of the novel coronavirus on Ghana’s economy, should the virus continue to spread.

He cited the growing trade relations between Ghana and China, and the dependence of assistance from China as areas which could be impacted negatively.

The coronavirus could cost the global economy more than $1trillion in lost output if it turns into a pandemic, according to a leading economic forecaster.

Oxford Economics has warned that the spread of the virus to regions outside Asia would knock 1.3 percent off global growth this year, the equivalent of $1.1trillion in lost income.

A survey of 1,000 small and medium scale enterprises conducted by two Chinese universities found that, unless conditions improved, one-third of the firms would run out of cash within a month, the consultancy said.

Another survey of 650 companies found that 40% of private firms would run out of cash within three months. This according to former finance minister Seth Terkper, could impact Ghana’s economy if the spread of the virus continues at its current rate.

Speaking to TV3’s Alfred Ocansey during the analysis of the President’s state of the nation address, he indicated that “between 2014 and 2015, while I was finance minister, Ghana’s economy took a hit, and it was primarily because of China.

“So all I’m cautioning is for government to take the possible impact of this coronavirus a little more seriously.

“This is because if the spread of the virus continuous without a cure, large production firms will shut down, and Ghanaian companies that rely on China will take a hit, Ghana’s economy may not be able to escape. All I’m saying is, it is good to prepare for any eventuality.”

In his view, although Ghanaian businesses have started feeling a minimal impact, a further delay in finding a cure will have dire consequences.

Another survey of 700 companies found that 40 percent of private firms would run out of cash reserves within three to four months.

Ghana is now the 7th largest trading partner of China in Africa.

Trade deals between Ghana and China increased significantly, making Ghana move up 7th position among African countries.

The partnership between these two countries brought significant gains as Ghana-China trade volume registered over 6 billion dollars last year up by 11.69 percent.

In terms of export and import between the two countries, China export to Ghana was $4.8billion and import from Ghana was at about $1.8bn increased by 3.37 percent and 41.3 percent respectively.

China’s non-financial direct investment inflows into Ghana hit $123 million and the volume of China’s newly signed contracts in Ghana reached $2.9billion making Ghana stand out among African countries with these figures.