The 2nd Wave of the Business Tracker Survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Services (GSS) has shown that three to four months after the lifting of the restrictions on COVID-19, 46,000 firms are still either permanently or temporarily closed relative to the 85,000 recorded when the restrictions were in force.
According to the survey, 17,000 of these businesses, made up of 8.7% of businesses establishments and 8.3% household firms, were permanently closed-down compared to the 30,000 in May and June 2020 when the COVID-19 restrictions including the partial lockdown were in full force.
The Government Statistician, Prof Samuel Kwabena Annim, who presented the results of the second Business Tracker Survey in Accra on Thursday, added that 50% of firms that indicated that they would be permanently closed during the first round of the survey had re-opened.
He said the sector that experienced the most closures was the education sector with 29.6% of educational institutions closing up, followed by transportation and storage with 12.3% closure and accommodation with 11.9%.
He stated the reasons for the closure of most of the firms were the disruptions in the supply of raw material and access to funds with 44.7% reporting they had difficulties in sourcing raw material and 14.1% experiencing a reduction in access to funds.
Prof Annim said businesses an average reported a decline in sales of about GH¢ 85.5 million (a 51.5% reduction), however, this was an improvement compared to the results from the first round of the survey which recorded a GH¢ 115.2 million decline in sales.
He added that the accommodation and food sub-sector also recorded the highest dip in sales as it did during the lockdown period.
He disclosed an estimated 11,986 workers lost their jobs between August and September compared to 41,952 between May and June.
He added that the second survey showed that more than 297,088 workers had their wages reduced compared to 770,124 that experienced a reduction in wages during the first survey.
He stated that the use of technology as a response to the challenges posed by physical distancing was low as less than 10% of firms had adopted the use of the internet and only half have taken up the use of mobile money.
He hinted that 67% of firms desired loans with subsidized interest, 41% need cash transfer and 25% deferral of rent as well as mortgage utilities payment to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a remark, the Deputy Country Representative of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Silke Hollander, said although the findings indicated that there has been some improvement, Ghanaian businesses continue to be affected by the pandemic in various ways.
She said the survey showed that the government initiatives to support businesses had reached many firms but there was still a lot of work to do, adding that UNDP would continue to work with all partners to support the government’s effort to help businesses to fully recover from the pandemic.
The 2nd Wave of the Business Tracker Survey was conducted with the collaboration with the UNDP and the World Bank and is aimed at providing critical information to help the Government of Ghana, development partners and other organizations monitor the effects of the pandemic on businesses.
It was conducted between August 15 and September 10, 2020, following up on the first round conducted between May 26 and June 17, 2020, and a total of 3,658 firms were interviewed.
Ishmael Batoma, ISD