The COVID-19 pandemic has taught Ghanaians many things, and among them is to plan for crisis situations.
A survey conducted by the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) has revealed that companies which have Business Continuity Plans in place do so mainly to satisfy regulatory directives, rather than preparing for the unforeseen.
Chief Executive Officer for the GNCCI, Mark Badu-Aboagye, notes that many businesses are more particular on meeting regulatory requirements than saving their firms in times of crisis; and therefore are quick to draft business continuity plans, but slow to test their efficacy.
COVID-19 has exposed this very clearly, and measures have to be put in place to ensure that any future disaster will not have businesses struggling like they are currently, the GNCC has observed.
As a consequence, the Chamber has proposed that businesses conduct risk simulations at least once a year to prepare themselves for unexpected happenings. The arguments put forward by the GNCC are particularly important – that businesses put in place some form of contingency plan to avert situations like what we are witnessing with the COVID-19 outbreak, and how businesses are threatening to fold-up as a result of the uncertainty.
Businesses should endeavour to set aside an emergency fund that they can fall on in dire situations like outbreak of the virus; or even when electricity supply falls short, for example.
One thing is sure, though, and that is businesses have given strong indications of re-evaluating their business strategies – which will be critical in a post COVID-19 era. That way, they will be better equipped to withstand shocks by dipping into such funds to rescue the situation and prevent them from becoming insolvent or laying-off staff unnecessarily.
Government cannot always come up with relief packages, since in most situations they come with additional costs. In saying this, however, the GNCC recognises the challenges businesses go through just to break-even; and asking them to set aside extra money for contingencies might just be asking a bit too much.
That notwithstanding, businesses have to adopt a savings culture since it only goes to ensure the sustainability of such enterprises. Business continuity planning (BCP) is the process involved in creating a system for prevention of or recovery from potential threats to a company.
The plan ensures that personnel and assets are protected and are able to function quickly in the event of a disaster.