Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Seth Twum- Akwaboah, has warned businesses – particularly those in the private sector – to be proactive in their post COVID-19 recovery processes or risk possible extinction.
As many spheres of the local and global economy have begun opening up, he emphasised that failure to adapt rapidly to shifts in the business landscape will have disastrous consequences for local businesses.
Using the imminent African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) as a point of reference, Mr. Twum-Akwaboah stated that the benefits which free movement of businesses, persons and investments will bring might not be realised by local businesses if they are unprepared.
“We need our business people to think positively and start planning ahead, because the world is a very competitive place. In the case of Ghana, in the face of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, we know businesses from other countries are strategising to take our market share in Africa. We must also be strategising to take other people’s markets, otherwise we’ll be out of business.
“Opportunities abound under the Agreement, but if we are slow then we’ll see others who are aggressive and quite prepared taking over our market in terms of production of goods and services,” he said.
President Nana Akufo-Addo on Monday, at a ceremony in Accra, officially commissioned and handed over the AfCFTA Secretariat to the African Union. Reiterating a call made at the height of the pandemic, he stressed that businesses which adopt a short-sighted approach will be at a disadvantage and be left ruing their decision-making when faced with the high cost of recovery. He however proffered a few steps some of those businesses could adopt.
“I remember in the heat of the crisis, some of us advised that our companies should try as much as possible to keep their businesses running. They could use varied production strategies – reduce number of employees, if necessary; and cut down cost in non-critical areas. There are so many options, but whatever it is don’t shut-down completely; because when you shut-down, coming back is very difficult.
“You lose some essential staff; because when they know that the company has closed down they have to look elsewhere, and the cost of getting the right skill set to get back is quite high. Our position has always been ‘don’t close shop, rather, strategise to survive’.
“Once you can break-even or reduce losses – as far as it allows you to stay in business and remain relevant – it is important. This enables you keep your market share, your customers, your key staff or skills; and then keep your partners, bankers etc. So that when businesses bounce back, you do not struggle too much to also bounce back.”