More businesses are counting their losses from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their operations.
The latest is the Car Rentals Association, which has already asked about 70% of its staff to go home temporarily as they contemplate business continuity plans.
In some cases, workers have lost their jobs; while others have taken pay cuts.
The closure of Ghana’s borders to passenger flights from March 23, 2020, has impacted most businesses within the tourism and hospitality industry, which comprises the Car Rentals Association.
Per the nature of their jobs, they operate from various airports, hotels, conference facilities, and commute clients to and from other corporate engagements.
But this will cease temporarily at least for the next two months; since the President has by Executive Instrument, extended the border closure till the end of May this year.
The President of the Car Rentals Association of Ghana, Seth Ocran, in an interview with Citi Business News, said the situation has impacted the operations of the association’s 40 members, across its major networks in Accra, Kumasi, Tamale and Takoradi.
“Largely, the informal sector of the economy such as the markets is opened. But the whole economy particularly the formal sector is still in a lockdown so we are still the same as all our vehicles are grounded, we are not working and we are still at home. So for us whether partial lockdown or the lifting of the ban on the movement of people has not really changed anything as far as our business is concerned,” he explained.
Aside from reducing the staff strength prior to the partial lockdown of Accra, Tema, Kasoa and parts of Kumasi, the slow pace of work has compelled the managers to ask about 70% of the total workforce to stay home temporarily.
Though Citi Business News understands March salaries were fully paid, that of April witnessed some cuts between 40 and 50% among the industry players.
“The issue had to do with people and every company had a different approach; some terminated the appointments with the hope that when things get back to normal, such people will be recalled. Others also negotiated with their employees for either 40 or 50% pay cut,” Seth Ocran intimated.
Mr. Ocran says they’re uncertain of the resumption of activities anytime soon.
For him and his members, commercial banks ought to respond accordingly by freezing interest payments on loans to enable them stay afloat.
Again, he told Citi Business News they are hoping a 3 billion cedis soft loan to be arranged by the Bank of Ghana and the Ministry of Finance should help in alleviating their plight.
“In a meeting with the President, he assured us that the 3 billion cedis is a soft loan and a moratorium will be given in terms of payment terms and it will be made available for us to apply. Therefore as members, we will apply for that,” he said.
As Ghana’s COVID-19 case count has crossed the 5,000 mark, it is still uncertain if the closure of borders will be extended as the government introduces containment measures to control the spread of the coronavirus in Ghana.