The President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), Dr. Appiagye Dankawoso II and some national and regional executives and members of the chamber have visited some companies in the Western Region.
The visit, was to assess the impact of COVID-19 on businesses within the region and on the economy as a whole. Also it was meant to see how best members of the chamber can take advantage of government’s intervention. Companies visited are the Ghana Rubber Estate Limited (GREL), Diamond Cement, Takoradi Flour Mills as well as Dress Up College of Fashion.
At GREL, the Managing Director, Lionel Barre said although COVID 19 has had negative impact on their business as an exporter, the company will not terminate appointment of any workers.
He said the company invested €25million in building a new factory and that operations had to stop in March because of COVID-19 and to preserve business for future in terms of supplier and employees. “There has been huge drop in turnover of the company but we are hoping for the best. We are integrated into the community and have 11,000 out growers in the Western, Central and Eastern Regions; we are enforcing all the protocols governing COVID-19 and in terms of safety, we are doing well,” he said.
However, he appealed to GNCCI to help find some relief package for about 50,000 farmers in the rubber value chain who have been affected by COVID-19.
Percy Botchwey, Public Relations Manager of Takoradi Flour Mills explained that as a result of pandemic, the company could not import raw material needed for production. “This resulted in low production as plant was shut down; we are have currently bounced back and business is going on smoothly,” he said.
Responding to some of the issues raised by GREL, Dr. Appiagye Dankawoso II mentioned that “We will see how best the Chamber can support you to remain competitive in your business. GREL has been the most recognized institute in terms of export, value chain, and has employed a lot of people among others; GREL, is a foreign exchange earner, your contribution to the socio-economic development of the country cannot be overemphasize,” he said.
He mentioned that the impact of COVID-19 has affected the economy of the region and the country as a whole. “People are not in the position of paying their debt at the bank, companies cannot maintain large number of employees at their work places among others.”
The President of GNCCI noted that there has been some increment in production of some essential commodities such as flour related, the garment industry with the production of the masks and other related PPE.
Although, he said banks have reduced their interest rate which is a good sign for businesses, the chamber is still in talks for further reductions so that businesses can benefit. He mentioned that ICT have become appreciable with the introduction of zoom meeting with employers and employees and urge all business to use technology which is the order of the day. He entreated companies to look at the opportunities that are abound in COVID 19 and innovate to be able to stay relevant in business.