Local producers in the lifestyle and fashion industry say they have recorded low sales since Ghana recorded its first COVID-19 case in March.
Most producers in the fashion business say they started seeing a dip in online sales and direct shop purchases because most of their products don’t fall under essential items needed around this time.
Citi Business News engaged young Ghanaian entrepreneur and Chief Executive Officer of Horseman Shoes, Tonyi Senayah on how COVID-19 has affected his business.
For Tonyi Senayah, his once vibrant manufacturing site, had to shut down few weeks after Ghana recorded its first COVID-19 case in March.
According to him, running the factory alongside the distribution office was becoming financially unsustainable as the business was running at a loss.
He needed to take a decision quickly, and so asked all his workers at the manufacturing site to go home.
For him, it was a tough decision to make as he engaged his workers to pay them half their salary for the month of March since production had stalled midway.
“By end of March due to the outbreak of the coronavirus we couldn’t make enough sales, so those that we have on our payroll, we spoke to them and we all came to an agreement that we can’t pay full salary because revenue is mainly through sales and so we came to a compromise and we gave them half payment,” he said.
He maintained that even though the retail office is working demand has dipped hugely, threatening the operations.
Government’s GHS600 stimulus package
To help Ghanaian businesses like Horseman Shoes in this difficult moment, President Akufo-Addo announced a stimulus package of 600 million cedis that will be made available to support local businesses by May this year.
However, the National Board for Small Scale Industries, NBSSI, is yet to announce modalities for accessing the funds.
Tonyi Senayah believes it is a good option on the table that may be considered.
“We heard the President make an announcement that small businesses will be given some help. We will look at it and if the terms meet our operations we will consider it,” he said.
Implication for employment
For Tonyi Senayah, if the fight against COVID-19 continues without an end in the next few weeks, lifestyle and fashion businesses would have to change their production line to suit the current condition by producing items that may be needed, else they will be compelled to fold up since fashion is not an essential commodity in a health battle against a ravaging virus like COVID-19.
“If it continues, unfortunately, people will lose their jobs because shoes are not what people will be looking for to buy immediately”.