From Kwesi Alfred Adams, Takoradi .
The Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (STCCI) has launched its Business Condition Report (BCR) for the Western Region for the first quarter of the year.
This is not the first time the STCCI has launched the BCR.
Hitherto, it would publish the BCR report on its website for businesses to access them.
However, this time round, the STCCI decided to involve the media in its report launch.
The 13-page report looks at areas of businesses such as Changes in the Number of Employees, Factors limiting Business Activities, Levels of Investment, and Reasons for Investment.
The others look at Impact of Exchange Rate, Impact of Electricity Supply, and Impact of Cedi Depreciation amongst others.
The report captures the results of data analysed in the survey, and more than two thirds of the respondents indicated that the level of their employment were unchanged in the first quarter of the year.
Launching the report, the Deputy Chief Executive of the STCCI, Mr. Benjamin Nii Kpani Addy, said one of the challenges that faced the report was that businesses were not willing to come up with information. The launch attracted businessmen, bankers and other investors.
The Council Members of the STCCI were present at the launch, including the Coordinating Director of the Effia Kwesimintsim Municipal Assembly (EKMA).
Touching on the reports one after the other, the Deputy CEO said the BCR presented the results of data analysed in the survey.
He said the survey was conducted from March 25th to March 29th.
A total of 227 responses were received from businesses in sectors organised along eight industry lines.
He named the sectors as Logistics, Services, Merchants, Mining, Agriculture, Oil and Gas, Construction and Manufacturing.
Responses, he said, were received from businesses located in over 10 towns within the region. The Deputy CEO said businesses in the region were important, not only to the development of the local economy, but the development of Ghana as a whole.
These businesses, he said, created employment and provided financial freedom.
He continued and identified that investment in local businesses have significant impact on the local economy from its cascading effect on other local businesses through its impact on the level of employment for residents and indigenes to charitable endeavours undertaken by these businesses to help the less privileged in society.
It is for this reason and others that the STCCI found it necessary to learn about the economic health of businesses within the region on a quarterly basis.
In the 13-page report, 17% of the respondents reported an increase in employment in the first quarter.
The reasons for their response included higher sales during the period, extension of their operations to other regions, securing additional projects, and the need to increase productivity.
More than two thirds of the respondents, however, indicated that the level of their employment was unchanged.
On the impact of the cedi depreciation, two thirds of the respondents indicated that the depreciation of the cedi, witnessed during the quarter, had a negative impact on their businesses. The report said the effects cut across all businesses sectors.
The manufacturing and general merchants felt the impact of the increase in the raw material prices of their products.
“It was quite revealing to note that businesses in the service industry, such as insurance companies, add to increased premiums on some of their products, and had to increase claims payments during the period as a result of the depreciation of the currency.”
30 percent of the respondents indicated that under the period under review, they made investment for capacity expansion.
This referred to investment for purposes of training and developing of staff.
Among the reasons advanced for investing in their staff was to provide them with the necessary skills and expertise required by the business for expansion.
Others also indicated that 30% of their investment was in the area of product innovation.