Government must focus on developing industry-specific stimulus packages to complement the efforts of businesses in their bid to survive and grow, Nana Dr Appiagyei Dankawoso I has said.
Dr. Dankawoso I, who is the President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), said this would help ultimately to achieve impact, resilience, and sustainability of the entire industrial value chains, given the disruptions caused by COVID-19.
The President was speaking at the Second Edition of the GNCCI webinar on COVID-19; Strategies for Business Survival and Growth in Accra on Wednesday.
The event on the theme: “Financing Options to Stimulate Local Production” seeks to equip members of the Chamber and the entire business community with the requisite knowledge on financing options critical for their business survival and growth in this COVID-19 period.
Government has launched the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) Business Support Scheme as part of measures to manage social and economic recovery with GH¢600 million stimulus package for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
He said “I am also aware that plans have been made to activate the GH¢3 billion syndicated loan for the large enterprises which is welcoming.”
He said it was unquestionable that finance was the lifeblood of any business enterprise, which facilitates access to all the resources required in every business operation.
In essence, Dr. Dankawoso I said a successful business enterprise was one that had an efficient management of its finances by considering the source, cost and risk of all financial decisions.
“In this regard, it has become critical for businesses to identify which financing options will be appropriate to enable them efficiently manage their capital structure and working capital,” he said.
He urged businesses to develop an intelligent working capital cycle to address issues of input supplies, production capacity and employee management.
He commended the government and its institutions and agencies for their proactive measures taken to curb the spread of COVID-19.
He said in spite of the hardships inflicted on the Ghanaian economy by the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions, it also presented a unique opportunity to address the structure of the economy from an import-dependent to an export-led economy.
Dr Dankawoso I said the current merchandised export structure, dominated by raw and unprocessed commodities would not give the country the sustainable and inclusive economy required to move Ghana from a lower to upper middle-income economy.
“The appropriate time to structurally transform Ghana’s economy through industrialization is now,” he added.
The President said this would require a collaborative effort between government and the private sector to enhance local production for import substitution and export.
Mrs. Kosi A. Yankey-Ayeh, Executive Director, National Board for Small Scale Industries, (NBSSI) explaining the CAP said MSMEs, which qualified for the CAP Business Support Scheme were micro enterprises with one to five employees, small enterprises with six 29 employees and medium enterprises with 30 to 99 employees.
She said the two products designed under the Scheme was the Adom loans and Anidasuo loans and it was to bring hope to MSMEs in times like this when the Coronavirus Pandemic caused an economic downturn.
She said the moratorium still remains up to one year and during the application process, MSMEs have the option to select a moratorium that would work best for them; indicating that that repayment of loans remain two to three years; this was taken into consideration based on MSMEs needs assessment.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh called on business owners to input the right information to enable the system to the right assessment of the data.
She said NBSSI has decided to waive the registration fee for all applicants in the wake of fraudsters parading themselves as officials of the Board and taking monies from unsuspecting business owners.
Mr Alhassan Andani, Managing Director, Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited said in the wake of the pandemic, business owners had to work closely with the banks to identify the right financing options available to them businesses.
“We want to see a lot of collaborations with trade business associations in areas of trade financing among others,” he said.