There is no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic has literally rendered some business activities ineffective.
But with the easing of restrictions and the upcoming elections, one is expected to see some change.
Citi Business News takes a look at how businesses are picking up for operators in the printing industry with a focus on Accra New Town, one of the busiest printing hubs in the national capital.
Accra New Town is a densely populated residential area in Accra, but it is also a vibrant business area where domestic and commercial activities coexist in an intriguing blend.
The area is the hub of almost all printing needs from books, posters, invitation cards, T-shirts, branded souvenirs, banners, calendars and more.
The sight and sound of printing machines, computer keyboards, cutting machines alongside the smell of ink and fresh paper, topped up with a display of beautifully designed banners and signages are characteristic of this area.
But since Ghana first recorded cases of COVID-19 on March 12, 2020, the impact has been very dire on the printing hub resulting in the temporary closure of many printing companies.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions the printing of invitation cards, flyers, exercise books, and souvenirs amongst others reduced drastically.
But after weeks of economic difficulties, the restrictions were eased on May 31 with church, weddings, conferences, funeral expected to have not more than 100 people while adhering to all COVID-19 protocols.
Also, as the country prepares for the December elections, political parties are expected to upscale the printing of party information, materials, flyers, posters, T-shirts amongst others.
Seth Ahinkrah, design lead at A2 Printing, explains that though the election season is approaching, business is still slow.
“This year the printing industry is very different compared to other years. We know the COVID-19 has had a major impact on our business. It has reduced the way businesses are going. Due to this, social media campaigns have also had a very hefty impact on us because most of these political parties are also doing more of social media campaign than traditional print. So far, we have printed some paraphernalia for some parties but not much,” he said.
“Business has not been good you know, starting from the COVID-19 up to date. It has not been good at all. If you compare this to the last four years, there is a huge difference. By now I would be having a lot of jobs like tee shirts, printers, postcards but now there is no business,” Frank Addo also lamented.
“I think we have been affected because usually political programmes start around June, July but because of COVID-19, business is very slow. We are in September, and we have just started getting a few orders. It is not that much. Compared to 2016, where the parties ordered like 1000 or 5000 souvenirs, now they only order between 500 and 1000. So it has really affected us and our industry,” Joyce Tetteh, CEO of Sakar Graphics also lamented.
For Manager of Assempahfie, Joseph Kojo Assempah, though the situation is slightly different, he is, however, hopeful, sales will increase by mid-November.
“I think there are two sides to my situation. I will say in 2016, many of the politicians took their jobs outside to print, and we were worried, but in 2020, because they can’t fly again to China to print because of COVID-19, I can say in 2020 politics is helping the printing industry a little compared to 2016. But it is not much. We’ve done some T-shirts, souvenirs for both political parties (NPP and NDC) and even the PNC, and Nana Konadu’s party. As compared to 2016 it’s not enough, so we pray that by November, when we are getting to the peak of the political season, things will get better,” he noted.