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GSS, UNDP partner to track COVID-19 impact on businesses

The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have rolled out an online survey dubbed “Business Tracker”, which aims at assessing the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana.

The study would also evaluate measures put in place by businesses to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 as well as efforts to build better recovery for businesses and cross border trade.

A joint statement issued in Accra on April 8, said results from the survey would inform policy directions in protecting jobs and safeguarding progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

“The findings will also provide insights into keeping the promise of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) alive as a tool to handle future pandemics and protect jobs and businesses especially for youth and women”, it said.

According to the statement, the socio-economic impact study was part of a broader partnership seeking to strengthen capacities for economic and strategic policy development in response to COVID-19. 

It said the partnership, led by the GSS, included other government institutions, the UN system in Ghana, development partners, academia and private organisations. 

It outlined other interventions of the partnership to include re-engineering SDGs financing architecture to protect jobs and safeguard SDGs progress amidst COVID-19; supporting youth innovations in fighting COVID-19; and building resilience of local economies.   

The statement urged business owners, managing directors or representatives of micro, small and medium scale businesses to take the survey on the GSS website.

Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, the Government Statistician, commenting on the study, 

noted that the roll-out of a soft loan scheme of up to GH¢600 million by the government, which will have a one-year moratorium and two-year repayment period for micro, small and medium scale businesses was a direct response to the adverse effects of COVID-19.

He posited that despite the minimal knowledge on the pathways and extent of effects, coping strategies and preparedness of businesses to recover post COVID-19, the exigency of the ramifications of COVID-19 led to the government’s policy intervention for businesses. 

According to the statement, he therefore called on businesses to participate in the survey to inform policy decisions. 

“COVID-19 is not only a health problem but also a development crisis with enormous socioeconomic impact, and for its assessment, empirical data will be required to ensure that recovery efforts are better directed.

“This is a growing partnership that we hope will make a difference in providing the much-needed data for policy options and decision making”, stated Gita Welch, acting Resident Representative of UNDP Ghana.  

By Times Reporter

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