Businesses are biting their fingers in anguish as the impact of the Coronavirus rips profits. The pandemic is leaving no one untouched, rendering many private enterprises virtually on their knees.
One of such businesses, which are reeling under the excruciating pain of the virus outbreak, is the Kokompe secondhand spare-parts dealers in Darkuman.
The Chairman of the Greater Accra Secondhand Spare-parts Dealers Association (GASSDA), who are based in Kokompe, Nii Aquaye-Bonsu, in an interview with the Ghana Talks Business, on Friday, May 15, 2020, says they are sensing a looming collapse of their business.
Losing their capital
He said since the pandemic, with its attendant restrictions, players in the business have had their capital diminished with the speed of light.
Chairman Aquaye-Bonsu explained that secondhand spare-parts dealers in the country depend heavily on vehicles, especially the commercial ones, to survive.
But the restrictions on movement coupled with the directive to observe social distancing, he remarked, had taken a serious toll on their business.
“As you know, during the lockdown transport was not moving, the mechanics were not going to their shops and so it affected the maintenance of vehicles. People come to us to buy the spare-parts to repair their vehicles but they no longer come.
“Our parts don’t decay but if they don’t move you won’t get your daily bread”, he laments.
He said the impact on them is dire and that they are even struggling to cater for themselves and their families at home.
To lessen the impact on their business, the GASSDA Chairman says they are gearing themselves up to liaise with their counterpart in Abossey Okai to go seek for help at the National Board for Small-Scale Industries (NBSSI).
“Although we are an independent association, we are trying to see if we could get the Chairman of the Abossey Spare-Parts Dealers Association to lead us”, he stated.
The Government has earmarked a GH₵600 million stimulus package to support businesses that have been badly hit by the pandemic.
The NBSSI is the state institution directed by President Akuffo-Addo to spearhead the disbursement of the money.
Executive Director of the NBSSI, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, has come out to say that about 200,000 SMEs will benefit from the support package.
However, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has said that the GH₵600 million package is not enough.
In fact, GUTA, in a statement described the money as being “grossly inadequate”.
GUTA’s description is based on an estimation that each beneficiary SME will receive about GH₵3,000 that is if the GH₵600 million is divided by 200,000 expected beneficiaries.
“GH₵600m is a great start”
However, Mrs Yankey-Ayeh, in a subtle rebuttal, says “there will never be enough money for anything, but I think the GH₵600 million stimulus package is a great start.
This notwithstanding, Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said the NBSSI has more than the GH₵600 million to support businesses and ensure that the ordinary Ghanaian is touched along the process.
She disclosed that the NBSSI has worked with the Ministry of Finance and some of its partners to raise additional funds to provide emergency support amid the fight against Covid-19.
“The MasterCard Foundation have also given us GH₵90 million to add on as well. There are other partners that we are working with as well and very soon we will also share what we have”, she explained.
The Greater Accra Secondhand Spare-Parts Dealers Association in Kokompe, are the pioneers of the vehicle spare-parts business in Ghana.
The business was previously ran by Nigerians in the country, but the Ghanaians took over following the deportation of the West African neighbours to their country many years ago.
The Association has a vast land at Anyaa in Accra which was allocated to them by the state several years ago.
GASSDA is currently being led by Nii Aquaye-Bonsu, who told this portal that their association has gone under the radar in recent times, unlike their counterparts in Abossey Okai, due to lack of capital to carry-on the operations.
Again, unlike the Abossey Okai spare-parts dealers who import their good from outside the Ghana, GASSDA’s business module is hinged on buying secondhand cars from the importers and individuals within the country. They then dismantle them into various parts to resell for maintenance of the commercial cars.
By Salifu B.B. Moro