Firms must secure employees against malaria

July 18, 2017
Firms must secure employees against malaria

Firms must secure employees against malaria

A new study by the Private Sector Malaria Prevention (PSMP) has startlingly revealed that malaria cost the African economy an estimated US$12 billion per year.

In Ghana, the study revealed that the economic cost of malaria on businesses amounted to US$6,588,729 in 2014, while 62 surveyed firms lost an equivalent of 3,913 workdays to malaria between 2012 and 2014.

These figures show a clear correlation between malaria and worker/business productivity that must not be taken for granted.

It has been proven that malaria has dire consequences on foreign direct investments, tourism, labour productivity and commerce hence the need for private firms to protect their employees and dependents from the canker.

There is therefore the need for private companies to invest in malaria prevention to enhance productivity.

We also suggest that the discussion on the need for people to sleep in Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) should be promoted at the workplace as the surest way to prevent attracting malaria and its associated costs.

Banks must help bring down credit cost

It is quite noticeable that the recent consistent drops in inflation and interest rates are yet to make meaning to the average borrower as banks continue to peg interest on loans and advances beyond 30 percent.

The business community has raised concerns regarding the still high cost of credit, especially at a time that the very factors which drive up the cost now show signs of an improved macroeconomic environment.

For instance, inflation has dropped to 12.1 as at last month while the 91-Day Treasury bill rate also hovers around a five-year low of 11.93 percent.

These, we believe, are encouraging pointers that should offer some breathing space to the borrower who has had to endure what can be described as “suffocation” from the banks because of prolonged unfavourable market conditions.

Banks have chosen the high rate of non-performing loans (NPLs) in the sector to be the reason why interest on loans still remains high despite the positive macroeconomic pointers; but should that be the case?

Should the relief of the business community or the average borrower be shortchanged to make up for the losses incurred by the banks?

Businesses, small and medium sized enterprises who form the bunch of businesses in the private sector, need cheap credit to make them more productive and, for the purpose of this argument, bankable.

We see it as a cause and effect affair in the sense that the more productive a business, the more it can save to grow the deposit base of the banks and vice versa.

In that regard, it is very unfair for the banks to hold borrowers and the business community to ransom and call on them to put their acts together to offer some respite.

At the end of the day, we want an environment that offers hope to businesses and potential investors alike; one that reflects the real situation on the ground; and one that promotes job and wealth creation to grow the economy.

Increase vocational -tech funding

The Vice Chancellor of Accra Technical University (ATU), Sylvester Achio, has called on government to improve funding allocations to Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions in the country.

That, according to him, is the only way they could develop the requisite labour to reduce the skills gap and subsequently tackle the teeming unemployment rate.

Speaking at the opening of the World Youth Skills Day in Accra, Mr. Achio indicated: “TVET, which has an impact on productivity and economic growth, is not adequately funded to provide the needed skills for improving youth employment.

As a country, we need to be more inventive and innovative so as to develop solutions to our internal problems, especially unemployment and that comes with adequate funding to groom relevant skills.

The relatively higher unemployment rate among the educated is an indication of the limited job creation in the formal sector to absorb the increasing number of tertiary and secondary school leavers hence the need for technical labour and it is important that government quickly turns things around to ensure growth in the economy.