The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has commenced an industrial survey to better understand the current and future impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the export business community.
Importantly, the Authority is seeking to acquire scientific data on impact of the respective measures currently being implemented by the private sector, notably Small, Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), that are enabling them to remain in business.
This is expected to enable the Authority to conduct a preliminary assessment of the extent at which the novel Coronavirus is impacting on businesses and institute strategic measures aimed at supporting the sector.
“This would enable GEPA meet the most relevant and urgent needs of businesses. The pandemic has changed the face of doing business and businesses will have to retool to remain competitive. We remain committed to the development of our regions’ private sectors, including SMEs”, a statement from the Authority said.
The areas GEPA is seeking to ascertain responses for include businesses in the agricultural and agro-processing sectors; manufacturing; apparel and textile industry; culture and creative art; and ICT among others.
The private sector provides more than 80 percent of jobs in the country. Various assessments indicate that the continuous impact of the Coronavirus would hit the world’s economy even harder than originally anticipated and as such it is vital to reinforce the economy, most especially by giving soft loans to businesses, to withstand any further shocks.
SMEs involved in the export sector are expected to be hit even harder should infections of the disease continue and as such this could culminate in significant job losses and business closures.
Collapse of businesses coupled with loss of jobs are some major shocks this new global pandemic is ravaging on world economies and countries in sub-Sahara Africa are projected to be the most affected.
It is estimated that COVID-19 will cost the region between US$37 billion and US$79 billion in output losses for 2020 due to a combination of adverse effects.
They include trade and value chain disruptions, which impact commodity exporters and countries with strong value chain participation; reduced foreign financing flows from remittances, tourism, foreign direct investment, foreign aid, combined with capital flight; and direct impacts on health systems, and disruptions caused by containment measures and the public response, according to a World Bank report.