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More businesses recover from COVID-19 -Survey

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim — Government Statistician
Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim — Government Statistician

The stimulus package the government extended to businesses to cushion them from COVID-19 pandemic has impacted positively on many firms.

A COVID-19 third wave business survey has revealed that the stimulus package had caused an average rise in sales of 11.5 per cent by firms

The survey, which was carried out by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank, revealed that the positive impact was, particularly, evident in small businesses as their sales increased by 22 per cent.

Again, business tracker established that out of 30,654 firms that were previously fully closed as of the second wave of the pandemic, 15,174 were fully opened in third wave.

In spite of the positive impact of the stimulus package, the survey showed that 14,162 other businesses were still closed, suggesting that more support was needed from the government to help all businesses to fully bounce back.

The Government Statistician, Prof. Samuel Kobina Anim, who made this known last Thursday, said although the improvement recorded over the period of the pandemic was remarkable, there was the urgent need to pay attention to policy support systems required by the firms to bounce back.

"The top three policy supports firms need to become more resilient are loans with subsidised interest, cash transfer and access to new credit," he said.

Other findings

The COVID-19 third wave business tracker also shows rising use of mobile money among firms for sales.

Compared with the first and second waves, the current data revealed that almost seven out of 10 firms were now using mobile money to do business, with mobile money usage increasing from 35.7 per cent and 53.4 per cent in waves one and two, respectively, to 69.6 per cent in wave three.

Similarly, that survey showed that more businesses were adopting the use of internet for sales.

The data from the COVID-19 business tracker survey results further reveal the shocks caused by the pandemic.

For instance, the study identified multiple recovery paths such as sales, access to inputs, finance, employment, compared to the 2020 second round data.

The new data showed a considerable decline in the rate of reduction in hours worked, wage reduction and leave without pay over the three data collection periods since 2020-2021.

The UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana, Ms Angela Lusigi, said it was refreshing that more firms in Ghana leveraged digitalisation to boost their operations even in the midst of the pandemic.

“We need to re-imagine development in the digital age. It is encouraging to see more firms embracing digitisation as a default to improve business," she said.

She said the UNDP remained committed to supporting the government’s digital agenda and recovery efforts to accelerate the attainment of the sustainable development goals.

The Country Director of the World Bank for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Mr Pierre Laporte, said the leading global financial institutions would continue to support the government in its efforts towards the country’s economic recovery.

Background

The COVID-19 business tracker is a collaboration between the GSS, UNDP and the World Bank.

The initiative aims at providing critical information to help the government, development partners and other organisations to monitor the effect of COVID-19 on businesses.

The overall objective of the survey is to assess the socio-economic impacts, measures to mitigate the impact and efforts to build robust recovery for the people of Ghana