The Blue Skies CEO in charge of West Africa, Madam Ruth Adjei, says the novel coronavirus pandemic is having a serious impact on their business operations in the sub-region.
She explains that the company since the outbreak of the pandemic, has moved from a bottom-line of “break-even to heavy losses” due to the nature of their business which is largely dependent on perishable goods for it’s productions.
Despite the difficulties, the Blue Skies CEO says the company is still soldiering on with the hope that things will improved after the pandemic is defeated.
“This is a business that is highly perishable because we fly out and we cannot say we are stopping over just because we have a pandemic. We have to work through it”, he said.
Madam Ruth Adjei made this known while speaking at a programme, christened ‘Joy Business Industrialisation Forum’ held last Tuesday, May 5, 2020, by the Joy News channel, a subsidiary of the Multimedia Group.
Stimulus package for businesses
President Akuffo-Addo, on Sunday, April 5, 2020, announced a GH₵600 million stimulus package to support micro, small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) as “soft loans scheme”.
This, according to the President, will be done in collaboration with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Business and Trade Associations as well as Rural and Commercial Banks.
The loan, he said, will however have a one-year moratorium and two-year repayment period.
Even though Parliament, last week, approved the stimulus package, the disbursement is however yet to begin.
Prior to this, government has earlier announced a reduction in the electricity tariffs and a provision of free water for Ghanaians a period of three months, ending June this year.
Go beyond the tariff cuts
Madam Ruth Adjei, while commending the Government of Ghana for these interventions also called for more of such supports from African government for businesses operating within the continent.
The Blue Skies CEO further stated that all industries in the continent are facing the same problem in the wake of the pandemic. Hence, governments within the region must provide more support for manufacturing and export firms to help them stem the tide of the impact of the pandemic and save jobs.
‘We don’t want to say that we want to lay 50 percent of the staff off because I’m struggling. We have to still move with the labour”, she said.
The Blue Skies CEO, again, added that “you need to also make sure that you encourage the businesses to ensure that they are there to be able to give them the taxes they need”.
She added that although Ghana has lifted its lockdown their business is still suffering. This is due to the unwillingness of the other countries to ease restrictions, which is affecting businesses in those areas.
“So the challenges is not just Ghana, it’s a global thing and it is very difficult to plan in Ghana, and think that we are okay because Ghana is out of the lockdown.
“It is the ramifications from other countries that makes the impact more severe, so the government should go beyond just the cuts. If you are looking at only the two factors, that is paying salaries and financing debts then we have a problem”, she lamented.
The Deputy Managing Director of Kasapreko, Michael Effah also added his voice to the call for more relief pacakages for industry
He said “we need support in so many forms including, tax reliefs, interest rates reduction but I also think that there must be a deliberate plan or strategy to ensure that businesses stay afloat”.
“We need to create big and large companies in this country to push the economic agenda and provide employment for the people,” he added.
By Salifu B.B. Moro