COVID-19: Ensure equity in distribution of COVID-19 funds-Gatsi

The Dean of University of Cape Coast Business School, Professor John Gatsi, is calling for equality in the distribution of the COVID-19 funds to support businesses that have been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.  

According to him, the coronavirus pandemic has increased the risk of access to finances by entrepreneurs and small businesses, thus urging small businesses to do cost restructuring.

He explained that available and affordable access to different sources of finances to incentivise entrepreneurs and enterprises to create new businesses lines and expand existing ones have become crucial, demanding innovative and sustainable funding solutions.

Speaking at the Third Session of the e-seminar series on the topic Coronavirus Pandemic: Implications for Entrepreneurs and Enterprise Development organised by the USS, Professor Gatsi said some small and medium scale enterprises are not in the position to meet their repayment obligations to financial institutions, thereby contributing to rising non-performing loan profile of financial institutions.

He said “before the coronavirus pandemic, SMEs and entrepreneurs were facing challenges in accessing financing including trade finance from various sources to finance their creativity, ideas and businesses”.

This he said requires the creation of the right business environment to stimulate business growth.

He encouraged all stakeholders in the entrepreneurial space to reduce their risk averse position and increase investment in innovation and opportunities.

The Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Small Enterprise Development at the School of Business, Dr Mavis Serwah Benneh- Mensah advised micro and small business owners and entrepreneurs to be practical and join hands with other entrepreneurs as a strategy to overcome the difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic

She explained that the mandate of CESED is to provide entrepreneurial training and strengthen SMEs to play a critical role in the economy.

Before COVID-19, she said SMEs were vulnerable and needed protection in terms of financing, markets, and business development strategies.

She further advised small businesses to engage in cost restructuring and embrace continuous entrepreneurial education to survive and remain relevant.

On his part , an entrepreneur, Saka Addo-Mensah, highlighted the challenges he and his colleagues in the property business were facing.

According to him, rental properties are now empty because foreigners have lost money and cannot travel to the country as a result of closure of borders and airports, coupled with social distancing protocols.

He said before the coronavirus pandemic face-to face tour of the rental properties was the norm but because of the experience of the COVID-19 they have to invest in virtual tour of their properties to attract investors.

Mr. Saka Addo- Mensah emphasised that the nature of his business requires that he develops a new payment schedule and delivery date and re-negotiate with various stakeholders to stay safe in business.

Professor Ogo Nzewi, the Head of Department of Public Administration from the University of Fort Hare, South Africa provided policy perspective to entrepreneurship and small enterprises.

She explained that globally tax reliefs, social reliefs and small business funds have been provided as intervention.

However, in many cases these interventions have been slow in coming and discriminate against the very people and businesses that are in dire need of the support.


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