COVID-19: “We are unable to call our staff back to work” – President of GAMC laments
Businesses in the country have complained about the adverse impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on their operations.
The situation is no different for the Ghana Association of Microfinance Companies as its operations in terms of patronage and other related activities are grinding to a halt as a result of the pandemic.
Among the many challenges, the group says persons who have contracted loans from them are unable to pay back hence, leaving them in severe problems.
In an interview with the media, President of the association, Lambert Osei Kofi said government’s intervention is needed to save their business.
“Our business is typically a cash-type of business. We are microfinance companies mostly into deposit-taking and granting of loans. These things we do by cash. With the virus and its associated lockdown effect, we are unable to give loans because our customers are virtually not available. The loans we have given too we are finding it difficult to recover them. Sometimes when you go and people are crying to you, you are unable to recover your loans. Our revenues have been badly affected. We are unable to call our staff back so there are also job losses”, he said.
The financial implications led to some staff losing their jobs with others forced to take salary cuts.
This is due to the announcement of the partial restrictions in some parts of the country, most businesses in the formal sector closed down some of their branches and others as well reduced their operation hours.
The situation has left some companies with no option than to lay off casual workers with others preparing to cut down on permanent staff numbers.
According to them, it was no longer prudent to continue operations when numbers have dropped drastically and continue paying salaries, bills and taxes.
With the announcement of the ease of the restrictions however, some formal businesses started opening closed branches.
COVID-19: TUC calls for social dialogue over threat on businesses, jobs
Meanwhile, following these developments, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) wants various stakeholders in a round table discussion and take more decisive actions to minimize the impact of the coronavirus on businesses and other corporate institutions.
This among other things, the TUC believes is aimed at identifying a friendly environment for businesses in the country to thrive on and also control massive job losses amidst the outbreak.
Dr Kwabena Nyarko Otoo, Director of Research and Policy at the TUC has, as a result, asked the government, employers and employees to as a matter of urgency, come together and find ways of undertaking the difficulties burdening the business space.
“These are medium to long term effects we need to consider. The scale of the problem is such that, you need to try as much as possible to match the intervention with the expected loss. So we need to dialogue more -employers, workers, and the government need to use the social dialogue mechanism to actually come to the size and magnitude of the problem we are facing and define the kind of interventions required to address those things.” he noted.