80% of businesses project recovery by mid-2021

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A majority of businesses are optimistic of recovery from the devastating effects of the novel coronavirus by the middle of 2021, the latest survey by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has shown.

The survey, which was aimed at assessing the impact of COVID-19 on businesses in Ghana, revealed that about 80 percent of firms across the manufacturing, services and construction sectors expect to recover by June 2021.

About 40 percent of the firms said they are likely to invest in the next six months. However, chances of employment in the next six months remain low, given that only 26 percent of firms are likely to hire additional workers.

Given that the number of COVID-19 positive cases in Ghana has been on the rise in recent weeks, about 45 percent of the firms indicated in the survey that they are likely to implement a plan to lay off between 25 percent and 50 percent of their current employees, if the crisis persists till next year.

Speaking during a discussion of the findings of the survey, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AGI, Mr. Seth Twum-Akwaboah, said “tax waivers or temporary tax breaks, stimulus package from government, reduction of corporate tax, flexible loans from commercial banks, electricity and water subsidies are in this order the most important things firms expect to alleviate the impact of COVID-19.”

Mr. Twum-Akwaboah added that firms across the various sectors need timely support to increase production, as most of them are currently operating below their normal capacity.

“Government must make a dedicated effort to scale up and ensure policy-driven local content in contracts and procurement across key sectors. This will help stimulate demand for goods and services to speed up recovery while developing local supply chains,” he said.

The construction sector, it was revealed, was affected more by the pandemic compared with the services and manufacturing sectors. In terms of company size, small and medium companies bore the brunt of the pandemic compared with large firms.

However, the CEO noted that in quarter three, a significant improvement was observed across sectors and groups of companies by size.

“The services sector is recovering faster, with 33 percent of businesses moving out from worse-than-normal situation—and same for the medium size companies,” he said.

Source: Business 24

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