Some business owners who provide goods and services to students at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science Technology (KNUST) say they are unable to raise the needed capital to resume trade – ten months after being forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The situation has resulted in the closure of several shops in and around the university despite the reopening of universities since January this year.
The outbreak of deadly virus that has wrought havoc on health systems all over the world has also severely impacted the general business environment.
KNUST, the largest university in the Ashanti Region with a student population of more than 70,000, is home to several businesses which serve the university community. However, as academic life resumed only a few of those businesses could resume.
While the unprecedented admission of fresh students – over 25,000 – should have enhanced business operations on campus, some of the business operators claim they were compelled to spend the proceeds made from their trade during the lockdown.
However, Aunty Florence – the operator of a boutique on KNUST campus, said her business is picking up and she has been making some moderate sales since the university resumed.
Another shop operator lamented business has not been as it was before, though students are back from the long Covid-break. She noted that the trend of sales indicates students do not have enough to spend. “Anyway, it is good they are back and we hope it gets better,” she added.
“We spent our capital, and several of these shop owners are finding it difficult to raise the needed capital to operate.”
With more than 200,000 micro, small and medium enterprises having received Loans from the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (Cap BuSS), she is hopeful that this intervention will be widened to rescue dying businesses.