2020 was a difficult year for businesses – AGI

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Seth Twum Akwaboah, has said that even though COVID-19 created opportunities for some businesses in 2020, the majority of businesses were hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He shared that the first quarter of 2020 was quite positive. However, with the presence of the pandemic, demand for various goods fell; affecting the growth of businesses in Ghana.

In an interview with Samuel Eshun on e.TV Ghana’s Fact Sheet show, Seth Twum Akwaboah expressed: “Immediately after the first quarter then the pandemic struck and since then there were a lot of uncertainties in the system and eventually businesses were affected in different ways. Demand for various goods fell especially during the lockdown period. Afterward, people were concentrating on products that had critical and essential needs. So the luxury products were not in demand that much.

Then after the lockdown, there were restrictions on weddings, funerals, and mass gatherings and these are all platforms for generating demands. So you can imagine that companies producing the beverages and all the products that are for mass consumption were severely affected. There were even challenges along the line as to even getting raw materials because other countries were also locking up so going outside to transact businesses was difficult”.

“Generally speaking 2020 was a difficult year and this was also proven through some surveys we did .we have our own business barometer survey we always do. And in the third quarter clearly confidence level dropped largely because of the pandemic. So really businesses were affected”, he added.

He noted that companies that dealt in the production of products such as hand sanitizers and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) had the windfall opportunity during these hard times. However, that could not offset the negatives that the pandemic had generally brought to businesses in Ghana.

The CEO was also of the view that businesses only saw some improvement in the last quarter of the year when “we were getting to Christmas and the elections were bumping in more money here and there”.

Late last year, the AGI conducted research on assessing the impact of covid-19 on businesses in the country. Its report showed that 89 per cent of businesses were negatively affected by COVID-19 while overall about 75 per cent of firms across all sectors scaled-down production in the year.

Meanwhile, it stated that by June 2021, 80 per cent of businesses expected recovery from COVID-19’s negative impact.

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