A Business Tracker Survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) indicates that more than 770,000 workers (25.7 percent of the total workforce) have their wages reduced and about 42,000 employees laid off during the country’s COVID-19 partial lockdown.
The survey conducted by GSS in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank stated that the pandemic also led to a reduction in working hours for close to 700,000 workers.
The survey report revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic had caused considerable impacts on Ghanaian businesses, forcing many firms to cut costs by reducing staff hours, cutting wages, and in some cases laying off workers.
“The data also show that during the lockdown, about 244,000 firms started adjusting their business models by relying more on digital solutions, such as mobile money and the internet for sales.
“Firms within the agriculture sector and other industries used relatively more digital solutions (56 percent), with establishments in the accommodation and food sector being the least that adopted digital solutions (28 per cent),” it said.
The survey, was conducted between May 26 and June 17, 2020 across the country to assess how the novel coronavirus has impacted private businesses in which some 4,311 firms were interviewed.
The report further stated that the results indicated that during the country’s COVID-19 partial lockdown, businesses received shocks in supply and demand for goods and services.
It added that close to 131,000 businesses had challenges accessing finance and expressed uncertainty in the business environment.
“The average decrease in sales, according to the findings, was estimated at GHC115.2 million, with firms in the trade and manufacturing sectors (including exporting firms) largely affected.
“More than half of these firms had difficulties in sourcing inputs due to non-availability or increase in costs, leading to challenges in covering revenue shortfalls,” it stated.
To lessen the impacts of COVID-19, the survey results suggested the need for policies to support firms in the short and medium-term.
“The most desired policies cited by the private sector include measures to improve liquidity such as subsidized interest rates, cash transfers, and deferral of tax payments.
“Many firms were not aware of the Government’s support programs, suggesting the need for increased awareness and clarity on the guidelines and requirements of current interventions,” it stated.
The Business Tracker Survey is part of a global Business Pulse Survey (BPS) initiative of the World Bank, surveying the impact of COVID-19 on the private sector in more than 40 countries.