Beverage producers in the country are hopeful the decision by government to provide stimulus package for small and medium enterprises will help large firms to continue supplying their clients in the value chain.
A recent survey by the Ghana Statistical Service revealed that even though COVID-19 negatively impacted businesses, SMEs were the hardest hit with about 70 percent folding up.
Managers of Guinness Ghana, one of the country’s leading beverage producers, believe this could be mitigated if support to SMEs is sustained since large companies rely on small businesses such as retailers.
Speaking to Citi Business News, the Corporate Relations Director of Guinness Ghana, Sylvia Owusu-Ankomah, expressed hope that the easing of COVID-19 restrictions may provide some respite to beverage producers to sustain production.
“As a business operating in Ghana, we are an enabler to a wide variety of businesses so if you look down our value chain, from the farmers that we source locally from, to our key distributors like wholesalers and retailers, these are more SMEs so for us we are looking at a situation where the government’s stimulus package will benefit our value chain,” she said.
She stated that beverage producers serve a wide range of businesses, creating a supply chain that offers thousands of jobs.
Even though beverage producers rely on the agriculture sector for primary resources such as cassava, sorghum and sugarcane Madam Owusu-Ankomah pointed out that the industry serves thousands of people in distribution chain for jobs.
This, she explained are the categories of businesses that were badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic hence require sustainable government support.
In Ghana, drinking spots, pubs, hotels, night clubs and recreational centers are the main consumers of finished products from beverage companies.
The impact of the COVID-19 restrictions simply means that demand for these products reduced drastically.
For a large scale firm like Guinness Ghana, putting in measures to prevent the spread of the virus is non-negotiable.
Even though the company did not lay off any of its workers, some were made to work from home to enhance social distancing.
Apart from staff working in the factory, the company long before the announcement of a partial lockdown in March, asked its entire administrative staff to work from home.
According to some experts, working from home in itself is a skill that must be properly executed to ensure efficiency.
Madam Owusu-Ankomah explained that some staff were provided with special equipment to enable them work from home.
“We gave our staff laptops and data to be able to work from home. At Guinness Ghana the safety of our workers is the first priority,” she stressed.
For the beverage industry, the players in the value chain are very important if the customer is to be satisfactorily served.
This means that the survival of the beverage industry relies not just on a few businesses, but the hospitality sector and event organizers as a whole.
This is why the industry is hopeful the gradual easing of the COVID-19 restrictions will ultimately help them.