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FEATURE: The Economic Ramifications of COVID-19 for Ghana

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The world has been thrown into a state of pandemonium. There is growing uncertainty about the potential havoc coronavirus could cause. From Wallstreet to other financial markets down to individual households in the remotest part of the world, the impact of this novel virus is been felt.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19, as it has come to be known, are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.

Timelines

December 31, 2019 – Cases of pneumonia detected in Wuhan, China, are first reported to the WHO. During this reported period, the virus is unknown. The cases occur between December 12 and December 29, according to Wuhan Municipal Health. The crisis has become dire with data from WHO reveals confirmed cases globally at 191 127 with 7807 deaths as at 18.03.2020.

Global Impact

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One may wonder why global leaders and businesses are panicking over coronavirus. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared this novel coronavirus a pandemic. Economic activities have been disrupted. The overall impact on the global economy, at the moment, is immeasurable. Some economic experts suggest the implications could be far reaching than that of the Great Depression around the 1930s when the global economy experienced a contraction of about 26 percent.

As countries continue to lockdown and institute travel restrictions in the wake of COVID-19, the impact on the aviation industry goes beyond flights to-and-from mainland China. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates an impact of around $30billion solely due to decline in flights to and from China. One can envisage the dire implications for the global aviation industry.

Financial markets are plummeting, factories, businesses, hotels and schools are closing. The global economy is near shut down.

Source: Dow Jones

Stimulus Packages by Global Leaders

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As this novel virus spread across the globe causing unforeseen damages to human existence and business survival, several world leaders, particularly from developed countries are taking measures to safeguard their citizens and businesses.

US President Donald Trump has described the coronavirus crisis as an ‘‘invincible enemy’’. The US Congress on Wednesday 18.03.2020 approved a one trillion-dollar stimulus package. According to CNN, individual Americans would be supported with $500 billion in cheques. The remaining $500 billion is to support businesses severely affected by COVID-19.

The French government has earmarked a stimulus package of €45 billion for businesses and also guarantee bank loans to a tune of €300 billion. This was revealed by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel indicates the government would do “whatever is necessary” to cushion businesses. Finance Minister, Olaf Scholz, indicates that businesses will be given a limitless credit from the state-owned development bank, KfW. Starters would be supported with the equivalent of US$614 billion, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier also noted.

Forbes indicates the UK government has unveiled a stimulus package of $400 billion total (£330 billion) which was disclosed by recently appointed Chancellor Rishi Sunak. This amount is the equivalent of 15 percent of UK GDP.

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These world superpowers have instituted measures to tackle the fallout of this health cum economic crisis. COVID-19 is a global pandemic, meaning no country is spared. The world has become a global village and no economy is in isolation. Developing countries cannot ‘run to’ to developed economies for financial aid. They are at the mercy of their meagre national income. The biggest question is, will developing countries such as Ghana survive this economic meltdown?

Ghana’s economic gains over the past years are likely to be erased by this novel coronavirus. World Bank data indicates that the country’s GDP increased by 1.3% in the first quarter of 2019 over the 5.4 percent recorded same period in 2018.

The country depends largely on export of goods and services. Total export revenue for 2018 stood at US$23.118 billion according to the World Bank and represents 35% of GDP. With most trading partners and global businesses experiencing the shocks from this epidemic, one could anticipate a significant decrease in export revenues in the coming months and probably years. A decrease of a minimum of 10% (US$2.3billion) of the 2018 export revenue could spell doom for the country.

Crude oil prices have also plummeted below $30 per barrel. According to CNN Business, this is the lowest since 2002. Nasdaqtrading data indicates that prices have falling over 50% from US$53 to US$25 between February and March 2020. Data from the Ministry of Finance shows that Ghana earned over US$0.6 billion from petroleum receipts. As the country’s second source of export revenue, Ghana may grapple with trade imbalance.

In a similar vein, several businesses along the export supply chain could experience the ripple effects from this decline. This comes with associated decrease in tax revenues from such businesses. Again, with several countries under lockdown, global trade flows are expected to decrease. Revenues from the country’s ports and harbours would obviously decline. Other consequences could be job losses for temporal workers at the ports and harbours.

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The country is also expected to see sharp a decline in revenues from the tourism, hospitality and aviation industries. The government of Ghana issued travel restrictions on several countries as a result of the corona virus outbreak. A Citinewsroomreport indicates that Emirates airline flights to and from Ghana have been suspended until May 2020. Several airlines could follow suit. The losses to African airlines could exceed US$4 billion CNN indicates.

According to a publication on Ghanaweb, Director-General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Simon Allotey, revealed that as a result of the travel restrictions imposed on flights to Ghana, the country’s aviation sector could see a drop in revenue. He noted that “Airports Company depends largely on charges levied on airport passenger charges, while the GCAA also depends on landing fees, reroute charges for aircraft overflying Ghana’s airspace and the passenger safety charge. So once passenger numbers drop, there will be a corresponding decrease in passenger safety charge. For now, we can generally say there will be at least 20% dip as the situation improves or deteriorates, there could be either a further increase or decrease”.

The other fallout from the coronavirus pandemic on Ghana could be job losses. This would worsen the unemployment situation in the country. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) indicates that ‘‘the world of work is being profoundly affected by the global virus pandemic. In addition to the threat to public health, the economic and social disruption threatens the long-term livelihoods and wellbeing of millions’’. According to Reuters, ILO estimates that about 25 million jobs could be affected globally unless governments take measures to mitigate the impact.

In the budget statement for 2020, Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, projects a total revenue equivalent of US$119.55 billion. With a gloomy global economic outlook, this projection may not be achieved. According to Bloomberg, the Bank of Ghana anticipates a decline in GDP by 5%.

Government of Ghana Measures

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The central bank of Ghana has instituted some measures to mitigate the impact on the economy. The monetary policy committee on Wednesday 18.03.2020 reduced the policy rate from 16% to 14.5%, the first cut since January 2019.

A reduction in the policy rate alone may not cushion businesses and the economy from the shocks caused by this global pandemic. Speaking on Accra based CitiTV, the Chief Executive Officer of Dalex Finance, Ken Thompson, suggests that the government should initiate a stimulus package for tax compliant companies. This he indicates would ‘‘bring relief to Ghanaians immediately, and safeguard the economy from crumbling.’’

Resulting trade deficit from the ongoing crisis could hinder the country’s short-term development goals. One just hopes the worse does not happen.

In view of this, the government could consider the following measures:

  • Emergency budget review:

As a matter of urgency, the government should review the 2020 budget. The country could seek support from the World Bank’s US$12 billion package for countries affected by COVID-19.

  • Stimulus package for individuals and businesses:

Immediate package may include withdrawal of the proposed Communication Service Tax and taxes on fuel. Reduction in Income Taxes for employees. Welfare benefits for socially and economically deprived and vulnerable Ghanaians.

  • Suspension of non-essential expenditures:

The Minister of Finance after a review of the 2020 budget should defer all non-essential expenditures.

These are not ordinary times. Government must undertake pragmatic steps to reduce its financing gap created by this novel coronavirus. These among others, could help reduce the impact of COVID-19 on Ghanaians.

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By Ernest Degraft-Amoah

(M.A. International Business Administration and Foreign Trade)

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People & Lifestyle

Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare to receive LifeTime Achievement Award at the 2024 Ghana Wellness and Healthcare Awards

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In an era where wellness and healthcare play an increasingly important role in society, the importance of wellness and healthcare professionals cannot be overstated. From Frontline Workers battling pandemics, to wellness coaches and researchers pioneering wellness and medical breakthroughs. Their dedications and innovations are sacrosanct to the development and sustenance of our society.
The Albony Foundation  instituted this award scheme as their paramount to Recognize and Celebrate excellence in this field.
The Ghana Wellness and Healthcare Awards night is an initiative of the Albony Foundation in collaboration with Sunny FM and Sangy Global LBG. This event would bring together under one roof, Captains of the Wellness and Healthcare industries, top governmental functionaries, distinguished members of the diplomatic core, the media and investors, for the purpose of networking, knowledge sharing and celebration of individuals and institutions within the wellness and healthcare sectors who have distinguished themselves via their innovative contributions to the wellness and healthcare industry
of Ghana.
On Friday, June 14, 2024 at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel with the Theme: _“Ghana Beyond Aid: The Role of the Wellness and Health Care Sector”._ Over 100 Wellness and Health Professionals, Corporate Bodies and Individuals nationwide will be recognized and celebrated. These award recipients are Ghanaian Wellness and Healthcare Personnel Home and in the diaspora.
Speaking to the The President of the Foundation, Mr. OB Sinachy, he stated that the objective of the Wellness and Health Care Awards is to boost the Wellness and Healthcare sector of the country.
“It is our belief that this year’s award to the wellness and healthcare Professionals and institutions, would go a long way to position our wellness and healthcare institutions to attract investors and needed support into the Sectors. The times we find ourselves in, require that these sectors be strengthened to guarantee our continued progress as a nation. The COVID-19 pandemic was an eye opener and a testator to the fact that no amount of accolades or support is indeed too much for our wellness and healthcare professionals and institutions.”
The Organizing Committee Chairperson, Mrs. Sarah Nana Yeboah shared with us that, the Committee received 2,567 applications across the country but had to go through series of background checking to get their Best Top 3 Awardees per listed category.
The Chairperson continued that, Mr. Anthony Nsiah Asare amongst other notable veterans were nominated to receive this prestigious honor due to their outstanding and exceptional contribution and service to the Wellness and Healthcare Sector.
The Full list of Nominees would be unveiled on Thursday, May 2, 2024.
The 2024 Ghana Wellness and Healthcare Awards is proudly partnered by: Sunny FM, La Palm Beach, Albony Foundation, and Sangy Global LBG.
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This can DESTROY your YouTube channel

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Promolta has helped over 100,000 creators since 2012 and we know what works and what doesn’t work on YouTube.

Here are the 4 biggest things which can destroy or significantly slow down your YouTube channel.

1. Self doubt

Once self doubt creeps in, it can destroy your confidence. You might start to doubt all of your creative decisions and even hold back on some videos.

The key is to be extremely confident … even if you’re not. To feel like your videos are EPIC and like viewers will LOVE what you create. This confidence actually comes through on the screen and viewers will feel it.

2. Listening to the wrong people

The best person to listen to is YOU. Too many other people will have their own self serving interests and motives. Thus, listen to YOURSELF. Pay attention to what your instincts are telling you to do and what type of videos to create.

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3. Not releasing enough content

The more videos you release, the faster you will grow. This happens because YouTube will have a lot more content which it can recommend and show in search results.

For example if a viewer watched 1 of your videos, then YouTube can push MANY other videos to that same person and others like him. This gets you more views and more subs. Thus, try to release a lot of content but make sure not to let your quality suffer.

4. Sticking to low performers

People who are not performing at your level will hold you back. You need everyone involved to be an A player. From the videographer to the editor and to whoever else is on your team.

What happens is LOW performers deliver mediocre work and your content does not reach its full potential. Thus, you end up growing much slower because you stick to low performers. Make sure the people on your team are great at what they do, and if not, replace them.

Promolta is always here if you need a slight viral push. We would get your videos seen on blogs, games, apps, and websites. This way a lot more people will discover your content.

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REPORT: Dulcie Boateng’s Porials Pitch leads to arrests over ‘unregistered products’

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Dulcie Boateng, an avid Snapchat user often referred to as the ‘Queen of Snapchat,’ had some of her partners arrested by the police on Saturday, April 20, 2024.

Dulcie had organized an informal sales event dubbed the Porials Pitch around the Accra Mall area leading to heavy vehicular traffic on the Achimota to Accra Mall stretch of the N1 Highway.

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According to an investigative reporter, Akwasi Koranteng, who was among the group that triggered the arrests, most of the products that were on sale at the fair were not duly registered by relevant state agencies.

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The source revealed that about a dozen of the organizers were picked up by police in collaboration with the Pharmacy Council of Ghana and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).

Dulcie was among an initial group of suspects the police team held upon arrival at the event, but when they went to get other key members, she disappeared from the bus.

Some of the items seized by the police included boric acid suppository, bootyzone butt enlargement, weight gain syrups, flat tummy potion and soaps among others.

GhanaWeb is also reliably informed that the arrested persons were sent to the Accra Central Police Station where their statements were taken before being released to report later to the station.

Some of the charges they are likely to face include selling unapproved soaps and flat tummy potions and advertising products that are not approved by the FDA.

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The initial charge is in breach of the Health Professionals Regulatory Bodies Act, 2013 while the latter is a breach of FDA regulations on advertisement of unregistered products.

Videos of the event have widely been shared on social media with Dulcie getting praise for the massive attendance recorded.

 

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Open letter to customers from Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline

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To all our valued customers,

This week has been one of the toughest for Emirates operationally, as record storms hit the United Arab Emirates.

I would like to offer our most sincere apologies to every customer who has had their travel plans disrupted during this time.

On Tuesday 16 April, the UAE experienced its highest rainfall in 75 years. Lashing storm winds and rain disrupted activity across the cities. Our 24/7 hub in Dubai remained open, with flight movements reduced for safety, but flooded roads impeded the ability of our customers, pilots, cabin crew, and airport employees to reach the airport, and also the movement of essential supplies like meals and other flight amenities.

We diverted dozens of flights to avoid the worst of the weather on Tuesday, and over the next 3 days we had to cancel nearly 400 flights and delay many more, as our hub operations remained challenged by staffing and supply shortages.

We were clear on our 2 priorities: Look after our customers who have been impacted by the disruption and get our operations back on schedule.

To free up resources and capacity to manage impacted customers as a priority, we had to suspend check-in for passengers departing Dubai, implement an embargo on ticket sales, and temporarily halt connecting passenger traffic from points across our network coming into Dubai.

We deployed additional resources to aid our airport and contact centre teams with rebooking and put on additional flights to destinations where we identified large numbers of displaced customers.

We sent over 100 employee volunteers to look after disrupted customers at Dubai Airport departures and in the transit area, prioritising medical cases, the elderly and other vulnerable travellers. To date, over 12,000 hotel rooms were secured to accommodate disrupted customers in Dubai, 250,000 meal vouchers have been issued, and more quantities of drinking water, blankets, and other amenities.

Behind the scenes, it was all hands-on deck for thousands more employees across the organisation to get our operations back on track.

As of this morning, Saturday 20 April, our regular flight schedules have been restored. Passengers previously stranded in the airport transit area have been rebooked and are enroute to their destinations. We have put together a taskforce to sort, reconcile, and deliver some 30,000 pieces of left-behind baggage to their owners.

It will take us some more days to clear the backlog of rebooked passengers and bags, and we ask for our customers’ patience and understanding.

We know our response has been far from perfect. We acknowledge and understand the frustration of our customers due to the congestion, lack of information, and confusion in the terminals. We acknowledge that the long queues and wait times have been unacceptable.

We take our commitment to our customers very seriously, and we have taken learnings from the last few days to make things right and improve our processes.

I’d like to also acknowledge and thank our teams across the airline, and our many suppliers and partners for their tireless efforts around the clock this week, despite the challenging conditions, to support customers, recover our network, and bring our operating schedule back to normal.

Finally, and once again, I want to offer, on behalf of myself, and all the teams across Emirates, our apologies to each and every customer affected by this disruption.

We will continue to work hard to live up to your expectations, and to our Fly Better brand promise.

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Payroll Outsourcing Strategies for Success

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Managing payroll efficiently is crucial for the success of any organisation. However, handling payroll in-house can be complex, time-consuming, and prone to errors. That’s where payroll outsourcing services in UK come in. Payroll outsourcing involves hiring a third-party provider to handle all aspects of payroll processing, from calculating wages to disbursing payments and filing taxes. This article will explore some effective strategies for successful payroll outsourcing.

Define Your Needs

Before outsourcing your payroll, it’s essential to define your organisation’s payroll requirements clearly. Consider factors such as the number of employees, pay frequency, benefits administration, and compliance requirements. Understanding your needs will help you choose the right outsourcing provider and ensure they can meet your specific requirements.

Research Potential Providers

Not all payroll outsourcing providers are created equal. Take the time to research potential providers thoroughly. Look for companies with experience in your industry, a track record of reliability, and positive client testimonials. Don’t hesitate to ask for references or case studies to gauge their level of expertise.

Evaluate Technology Solutions

Technology plays a crucial role in payroll outsourcing. Look for providers offering user-friendly payroll software with automated calculations, direct deposit options, and secure data storage. Additionally, consider whether the provider offers mobile access, which can benefit remote employees and managers.

Consider Compliance and Security

Compliance with tax laws and regulations regarding payroll processing is non-negotiable. Ensure that your chosen outsourcing provider stays up-to-date with changes in legislation and has robust security measures in place to protect sensitive employee data. A reputable provider should comply with industry standards such as SOC 1 and SOC 2 certifications.

Communicate Effectively

Clear communication is essential for successful payroll outsourcing. Establish a communication plan with your provider, including regular check-ins, reporting requirements, and protocols for addressing any issues or concerns. Ensure all stakeholders are informed about the outsourcing arrangement and understand their roles and responsibilities.

Monitor Performance Metrics

Track key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the effectiveness of your payroll outsourcing arrangement. Some relevant metrics to monitor include accuracy rates, timeliness of payroll processing, compliance with deadlines, and customer satisfaction levels. Use this data to identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions about your outsourcing strategy.

Stay Flexible and Adapt

As your business evolves, your payroll needs may also change. Stay flexible and be prepared to adapt your outsourcing strategy accordingly. Whether it’s scaling up to accommodate growth or adjusting processes to address new regulatory requirements, choose a provider that can grow and evolve with your organisation.

Invest in Employee Training

While outsourcing payroll can streamline processes and reduce administrative burdens, it is essential that your internal team understands how to work effectively with the outsourcing provider. Invest in training programs to familiarise employees with the new payroll system, address concerns, and promote collaboration between internal staff and the outsourcing team.

Review Contracts Carefully 

Before finalising any agreements with a payroll agency, review the contract carefully to ensure that all terms and conditions are clearly defined and aligned with your expectations. Pay close attention to pricing structures, service level agreements, termination clauses, and data security provisions. Seek legal advice if necessary to ensure that your interests are protected.

Seek Feedback and Continuous Improvement


Finally, don’t overlook the importance of soliciting feedback from employees, managers, and other stakeholders regarding payroll outsourcing. Use this feedback to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement, and strive for continuous improvement in your payroll operations.

In conclusion, successful payroll outsourcing requires careful planning, effective communication, and ongoing collaboration between your organisation and the outsourcing provider. By following these strategies and choosing the right partner, you can streamline your payroll processes, improve accuracy and compliance, and focus on driving the success of your business.

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How Live Dealer Games Are Transforming Hugewin Casino

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Live dealer games are reshaping the landscape of online casinos, offering a blend of traditional gambling excitement and the convenience of digital play. At the forefront of this evolution is Hugewin Casino, a prominent online gambling platform known for its innovative approach and diverse gaming offerings.

This article delves into how Hugewin Casino is transforming through the integration of live dealer games, providing players with an immersive, real-time gaming experience that mirrors the atmosphere of physical casinos. By examining the technological advancements that make these games possible, their impact on player engagement and retention, and the future prospects of live dealer offerings, we’ll explore how Hugewin Casino is setting new standards in the online gambling industry. Through this lens, readers will gain insight into the growing appeal of live dealer games and how they are becoming a pivotal part of the modern casino experience.