SMEs fear reluctance to take vaccine will dip business confidence again

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Small- medium-scale business owners have expressed concern over reluctance in some of the public to take the COVID-19 vaccine, saying such a position may affect business confidence as it will retard any progress to fight the deadly pandemic.

Quite recently, the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) said that its monitoring of business activities has shown that business confidence is rising, especially after the nation began rolling out the 600,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine that arrived in early March.

Despite the successful roll-out of the first batch of shots obtained from the COVAX facility, there are still sceptics who harbour various doubts and entertain different conspiracy theories about the vaccine. It is against this background that some small business owners are appealing for the public to dismiss any fears about the vaccine and get their jabs, so that the economy can soon return to normalcy.

In an interview with the B&FT, owner of Yahaya Poultry Farm, Yahaya Abdulai, said that scepticism surrounding the vaccine can have an adverse effect on the business climate.

“I think vaccines are supposed to be a measure to curb pandemics like the one we are currently experiencing. I have had informal discussions with a lot of people who have expressed various degrees of scepticism as to whether they will even participate in the vaccination when it is fully rolled out.

“If they are willing to take it, and they consciously take it, it will bring back the robust business climate. But if they do not, the fear of contracting the disease will still be there and may defeat the purpose of rolling out the vaccine,” he said.

He added that many businesses are interwoven, and once the economy is back to the robust nature it had prior to COVID-19 investor confidence will build back up; and there will be a willingness to have face-to-face interactions more often.

Another small/medium-scale business CEO, Gideon Dendzo who runs Giddins Shoes – a local shoe-making company, also reiterated similar sentiments expressed by his colleague; saying any bounce-back of business confidence is highly dependent on efficiency of the vaccination roll out.

“The recovery of business activities depends on how quickly the vaccine is deployed, because vaccinations could have a massive impact on restoring confidence and increasing economic activities – as people will gain confidence in being around peers and do walk-in purchases,” he said.

A food supply chain company owner, Yvette Tetteh of Pure and Just Company, also agrees with the notion that accepting the vaccine will help improve the business climate.

“As someone dealing in the catering business, the vaccination process will not only increase commerce but will have people feeling confident in flying again – thus making it possible for us to cater to our clients again as airports are opening up. We will start looking at suppliers for online trade, which will increase the online trade space. In one direct way we will be able to provide people with our products again,” she said.

So far, the first phase of vaccine roll-out is complete and those vaccinated are waiting to take their second jabs in the second phase of the exercise.                                                       FIN

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