An economist, Dr. Adu Owusu Sarkodie, has stated that majority of Ghanaians who work in the informal sector will be impacted heavily should government order a lockdown as a stern measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Following the steady increase in the number of recorded cases of COVID-19 in Ghana, there have been calls from various stakeholders for the government to consider a lockdown in the whole country or at least in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions.
The government is yet to officially announce any decision to that effect.
Speaking to Citi Business News, Dr. Owusu Sarkodie admitted that though any such move will be difficult for informal sector workers, he believes the government could mitigate the impact with the provision of subsidies on essential services to cushion the masses.
“In our case, it will be very difficult because how many workers in the informal sector have accounts that can be credited. So, it will be very difficult. What I can propose is to subsidize certain things that we do. Now, everybody is home consuming electricity, the bill will obviously go high, water bill will go high. So, I want to see if there is a possibility for government to subsidize the electricity and the water bill. So, the informal sector is going to be a very big issue when there is a possible lockdown as most of the people there are poor,” he said.
Ghana has already recorded 27 confirmed cases with 2 deaths. Currently, there have been 381,293 cases and 16,572 deaths globally, according to the John Hopkins University.
Impact of COVID-19 on businesses
The impact of the novel Coronavirus on economic activity is huge as many sectors of the economy have been shut down in support of social distancing measures to curb the spread. The current spread has also complicated supply chains, and the drop in equity prices.
Large-scale quarantines and travel restrictions, drive a sharp fall in consumer and business spending.
Although the outbreak comes under control in most parts of the world, like China, the source of the disease, the self-reinforcing dynamics of a recession is obvious. Consumers stay home, businesses lose revenue and lay off workers, and unemployment levels have risen sharply.