The Ghana Employers Association has said it does not expect its members to lay off workers to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their bottom line.
Chief Executive of the Association, Alex Frimpong, however, said this is heavily dependent on ongoing discussions between the Associaton and the government on ways of making staff layoffs very unlikely in the coming days.
“The last decision that businesses will want to take in this crisis is to lay off,” he said on the business edition of PM Express, Thursday.
“Currently we are in discussion with the government on so many options that are likely to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 on businesses.
“So we are hopeful and more encouraged that these measures will yield results and support businesses so that the issue of any likely lay off may be something that may not come to fruition,” he added.
Across the world, companies have warned that the Covid-19 could see them collapse as the disease disrupts their growth projections and profits.
Some governments have moved to prevent this from happening.
In the UK for instance, the government will pay the wages of employees unable to work due to the coronavirus pandemic, in a radical move aimed at protecting people’s jobs.
In Ghana, the Emergency Response Fund will seek to do a similar thing.
Speaking on PM Express, the Chief Executive of Ghana Employers Association said modalities on how Ghanaian companies can draw down on the Fund is yet to be finalised.
“In the coming days and weeks, we will be engaging the relevant ministries, department and agencies on how employers can access this fund so that they [firms] can respond positively to run their businesses and the question of layoff may be the last option…” he said.
The head of the employers’ body said it was important for the government to intervene as the pandemic wreaks havoc to business and the macroeconomy because “government runs primarily on the taxes that are paid by these corporate bodies.”
The fund, he said, will help companies to procure raw materials and pay some of the workers’ salary.
He said government could defer the payment of taxes – VAT and income tax – to relieve companies of the financial burden brought on by the pandemic.
He said should the government fail to intervene, pay cuts could be the next likely move companies will be forced to take to deal with the effects of the disruption caused by the pandemic.