The Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry has described as woefully inadequate the GH¢600 million stimulus package for SMEs across the country. 

Already, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has bemoaned the said amount warning the development still leaves SMEs severely on the edge.

 Addressing Ghana’s business community in a webinar series, President of the Chamber, Dr Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso 1 warned that disruptions in the growth of SMEs amid Covid- 19 will spell doom for the economy.

“On average, the estimated financial cost of the pandemic on businesses differs and increases with firm sizes: micro-enterprise (GH¢22,500); small enterprise (GH¢50,000); medium enterprise (GH¢500,000); and large enterprise (GH¢600,000).

“It thus suggests that the government’s stimulus package of GHS600 million to be shared among about 200,000 SMEs is woefully inadequate (average of GHS 3,000) even for the micro-enterprise (GH¢22,500). Also, the delay in the disbursement of the stimulus package is further worsening the plight of SMEs.

He added, “The Chamber urges the government in consultation with the financial industry players to urgently make known the modalities required to enable large enterprises to access the GHS3 billion syndicated loans. Businesses need to be supported and this must be done quickly.”

Businesses are biting their fingers in despair as the impact of the Coronavirus rips profits. This has spiralled unemployment cases leaving the private sector virtually on its knees. 

With over 500 business owners join in on the Chamber’s first-ever Webinar series, Dr Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso 1 also warned of a possible recession if the government does not pace up to sustain businesses.

Economies world over are racing against time to prevent a possible recession. 

In Ghana, the government is considering a recovery program to revive the economy. But Economist Peter Quartey of the Institute of Statistical Services (ISSER) warns Ghana’s economic bounce back will be based on sustained support of SMEs.

“It is very imperative for the government to ramp up its support for the Private Sector. We are seeing how major economies like the UK and US are pumping in cash to keep struggling businesses afloat. A deviation from this fact could spark an economic recession in the short term,” he stated.

So far, the Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA) has called for the institution of a committee involving all relevant stakeholders to discuss and come up with a workable plan for distributing the government’s stimulus package. 

The Association said it had become necessary as there was no stakeholder engagement to discuss and advise the government on how best its stimulus package for the informal trading sector and the small-scale industries could be effectively managed to serve its intended purpose.

A statement signed by Dr Joseph Obeng, GUTA President and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s first statement on the stimulus package indicated that the fund would be disbursed through Trade Associations and the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI). This, the statement added, would strike an average threshold of GH¢3,000.00 per a beneficiary, “which is grossly inadequate”.