About 1,500 women-owned Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) nationwide have folded up due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions, the Ghana Association of Women Entrepreneurs (GAWE) has said.
The affected businesses belong to about 60 percent of the 2,500 GAWE members whose business cover 26 sectors, including fishing, clothing, farming and agro-processing, aluminium household utensils, manufacturing, hospitality, arts and crafts.
The GAWE president and Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Lucia Quachey, who disclosed this in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra on Monday, on the sidelines of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) forum, entreated the government to reserve 40 percent of stimulus packages for women entrepreneurs.
The Multi-stakeholder Business Integrity Forum organised by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) in collaboration with GAWE was funded by the Embassy of Netherlands.
The programme, attended by 60 GAWE members from the Greater Accra Region, sought to, among other things, assess the impact of corruption and COVID-19 pandemic on micro-businesses and SMEs and proffer solutions to them.
Mrs Quachey said the low purchasing power of the people due to the restrictions associated with the pandemic had led to low patronage, loss of capital, and low productivity of women businesses.
She said the funds allocated by the government to relieve businesses of hardship had not had any impact on women-owned business because the funds were “available but not accessible.”
With the end of the pandemic being uncertain, Mrs Quachey urged members to adopt new marketing strategies, including online platforms, to boost their business.
Project Coordinator of GII, Michael Okai, in a presentation on corruption, urged business owners to avoid corrupt practices, including payment of facilitation fees and use of fake documents to obtain loans.
“When corruption increases, the chances of survival, growth and sustainability of SMEs decrease. Corruption increases the cost of doing business, thereby reducing profitability,” he said.