Only 958 businesses nationwide aware of AfCFTA—GSS

Only 958 businesses across the country are said to be  aware of the African  Continental  Free  Trade  Area (AfCFTA) which  is  expected to  start on January 1, 2021,  findings from the second  wave of  COVID-19 Business  Tracker  Survey has  revealed.

This represented 26.2 per cent of firms interviewed between August 15 and September 20 this year by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

A total of 3,658 from the initial 4,311 firms from the first Business Tracker were re-interviewed to provide critical information to help the government, development partners and other organisations monitor the effects of the pandemic.

The Government Statistician, Prof. Samuel Annim said this on Thursday at a press conference held in Accra.

He said the awareness of AfCFTA was more among the medium and large firms which represented 63.8 and 72.7 respectively while within the small and micro firms only 26.2 and 24.9 per cent were in the know of it.

 According the  Prof. Annim,  though  awareness of AfCFTA was  low, 76 per cent  of  the businesses believed  the implementation of  it would  bring  transformation  to their  businesses .

 He  said both  large and small  firms,  as well as medium-size firms  believed that  reduced cost of credit,  increased  information on business  opportunities  and removal of  policy and  regulatory  bottlenecks,  digitisation, business  advisory  services  and  information on  business opportunities would  be  the  support  needed to make  their  firms useful and enable  them sell  their  goods and service  across the  continent.

Prof. Annim said the number of firms in Ghana aware of the AfFCTA was worrisome and was unexpected, given that the intended benefits was enormous for businesses and the country at large.

 He said the Service had taken steps to intensify the sensitisation of AfFCTA to ensure that businesses and firms in Ghana could leverage and benefits from the returns associated with it.

 He  also  indicated that  the  findings  had  been  shared with the Ministry of  Finance  and would be  subsequently  shared  with  relevant ministries  such as the Ministry of  Trade and Industry.

“We expect the firms in Ghana would fully be aware of this intervention and will be educatedon the strategies by which they can harness the returns associated with it,” he added.

BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU & GLORIA NSIAH MINTAH

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