The Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA) has petitioned the Minister of Finance to establish an Emergency Fund from which businesses can access working capital, pay salaries and purchase raw materials for production as COVID-19 continues to bite hard.
The petition was drafted by the association after deliberations among its members on emergency support needed to sustain their operations. Government is currently working on a stimulus package for business but the Employers Association wants the state to take a further step to create the emergency fund to supplement the stimulus package.
“This will be one of the surest ways to keep employees on the payroll,” the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Employers’ Association, Alex Frimpong told the B&FT in an interview.
To Mr. Frimpong, under these circumstances where borders across the world are closed and also a huge challenge with supply chain globally, there is the need to identify and support local businesses who can provide raw materials here which some industry used to import.
He believes that, just as great effort has been put into the production of PPE locally, attention must be given to some other essential manufacturing raw materials so their supply chains are not disrupted. The petition, acknowledging efforts being taken by government to address economic challenges, asked for expedite action, as according to the GEA, things are getting dire for employers.
“For some employers, the disruption of activities will have a lasting effect on their businesses if action is not taken immediately to insulate them from the vagaries of the pandemic. COVID-19 will also have major economic and employment impact on especially the aviation, manufacturing, hospitality, tourism, sports and the entertainment industries, to mention a few. These organizations are in danger of being forced out of business.
We therefore need to act quickly to minimize the social and economic consequences of COVID-19 on the Ghanaian economy. We need to find innovative solutions for businesses and the masses of workers in order to limit the unemployment fallout and loss of income due to COVID-19,” the petition read.
The Employers Association, Organised Labor and the Finance Ministry will be having the Social Partnership Council meeting today to deal with the general socio-economic challenges the country is facing and outline concrete measure being put in place by government to ease the challenges on employers and employees.
GEA has stated that, it would like government to lead in the development and implementation of a comprehensive Economic Response Strategy (ERS) to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the association, this will require the development of stabilization and stimulus packages for businesses and households to reduce the impact of the pandemic both in the crisis period and after the threat of the virus has been eliminated.
They want the ERS to comprise of a fiscal and monetary plans which will subsume the monetary policy measures prescribed by the Central Bank.
“Knowledge of government’s plan for the private sector in this critical period will play a significant role in guiding employers to allocate resources efficiently and safeguard investment to sustain businesses. It will further reduce uncertainties and risk in the economy,” the petition noted.