Businesses recovering from COVID-19 shocks

Businesses recovering from COVID-19 shocks
  • survey reveals

The COVID-19 Third Wave Business Tracker survey results have revealed businesses continue to recover from shocks caused by the pandemic.

The Third Wave data show varied levels of improvements across sectors in multiple channels such as sales, access to inputs, finance and cash-flow among others, compared to the 2020 second round data (Wave II).

The key findings from the third round (Wave III) data released by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank, also show a considerable decline in the rate of reduction in hours worked, wage reduction and leave without pay over the three data collection periods in 2020-2021 (Waves I-III). Across business establishments, 1.0 percent of the workforce were laid-off in Wave III compared to 1.3 percent in Wave I.

Government Statistician, Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim said findings from the COVID-19 Third Wave Business Tracker report indicate that the government stimulus impacted positively on firms’ sales, with an increase of 11.5 percent.

“This positive effect was evident among small businesses, as their sales increased by 22 percent.”

The Wave III Business Tracker also show rising use of mobile money among firms for sales. Data compared to Waves I and II reveal almost 7 out of 10 firms are now using mobile money to do business, with mobile money usage increasing from 35.7% and 53.4% (Waves I and II respectively) to 69.6% (Wave III).

Similarly, more businesses are adopting use of the Internet for sales.

UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana, Dr. Angela Lusigi, observed that we need to reimagine development in the digital age. It is encouraging to see more firms embracing digitalisation to improve business, she noted.

Moreover, the Wave III data also show an increase in reopening of previously fully-closed firms. Out of the over 30,000 firms that were previously closed in the Wave II results, about half are fully opened (15,179) in Wave 3. But close to half (14,162) are still closed, suggesting more support is still needed to help all businesses bounce back fully.

World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra, Pierre Laporte, also noted that the improvement recorded over the period is remarkable – “but we also need to pay attention to the policy support required by firms”.

The COVID-19 Business Tracker is a collaboration between the Ghana Statistical Service, UNDP and the World Bank that aims at providing critical information to help the government of Ghana, development partners and other organisations monitor the effects of COVID-19 on businesses.

The overall objective of the survey is to track: the socioeconomic impacts; measures to mitigate the impacts; and efforts to build a better recovery for the people of Ghana.

In the Second Wave, 3,658 businesses were interviewed – which corresponded to an 85 percent response rate.

However, during Wave III, 1,200 businesses were added to the 3,658 to maintain representation across all administrative regions and to provide insights into the government support programme.

During the Wave III, 4,858 businesses were interviewed and a 98 percent response rate was achieved.

Overall, government interventions led to an 11.5 percent increase in the sales of firm. The positive effect of government stimulus was evident among small businesses, with an increase of 22 percent in their sales.

In Wave III, 97.5% of firms were open; an increase of 22 percentage points since Wave I, with firms in accommodation and food recording the greatest increase (32 percentage points).

Almost half (49.5%) of firms that fully closed in Wave II were fully opened in Wave III. Sales increased by 33 percentage points between Waves I and III, with the change mainly driven by firms in the top 35 percentile.

Additionally, digital solutions for sales have increased between Waves I and III – use of mobile money about doubled (35.7% to 69.6%) while Internet use increased 1.5 times (8.4% to 13.1%).

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