By: GEORGE NYAVOR

Director of Economic Statistics at the Ghana Statistical Service, Asuo Afram, says Ghana?s economy is likely to benefit from the June 3 twin flood and fire disaster.

Mr Afram is confident fallouts from the unfortunate disaster, such as cash donations from foreign and domestic sources to affected persons and into special relief funds may give the country?s lethargic economy the necessary jolt it needs.

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?The government has announced some payments [to victims and their families] which may not have come if the disaster had not happened. So that payment, once it is money pushed into the economy can cause [positive] effect in economic activities?, he said.

Apart from the government?s 60 million dollar relief fund to victims, other institutions have set up relief funds; others too have donated to hospitals to cater for the injured.

To mention just a few, the Catholic Church has donated relief items to some flood victims, but the church is still mobilizing donations in cash and kind to assist relief efforts; the Action Chapel International has set up a disaster relief fund with an initial amount of over GHC100, 000, with more contributions expected in the coming days; Goil, has also promised to donate some GHC560, 000 into the national relief fund; ADB Bank also gave out some GHC100, 000 to pay for the medical bills of the injured.

According to Mr Asuo Afram, these cash injections into the economy ? and many more that are likely to come from foreign sources ? will nudge the system to pick up pace as the country readjusts after the disaster.

Also increase in purchases of items to replace those destroyed in the floods by businesses and individuals and reconstruction efforts will pick up in the coming months ? a situation the Economic Statistician believes will bring progress.

?Flooding and disaster, although has its bad effects, also has positive effects?, he put it.
He admits however, that at the micro-level, companies worst hit by the floods will record slow progress in the coming months but said its effect on their bottom-line will not be drastic.

?When these things happen the following month they [affected companies] work even harder to cover all these costs that they may have lost. Sometimes instead of working for eight hours they may work overtime to cover some of their loses?, he said.

That will mean businesses who decide to stretch their workers a little more would have to pay more for man hours, however, Mr Afram says that should not be a problem since increased output resulting from overtime will outstrip the expenditure on labour.

So beyond the tragic loss of over 150 lives, the gruesome injuries, the destruction to property running into millions, what is the effect of Wednesday June 3?s apocalyptic twin fire and flood disaster on Ghana?s already wobbly economy?
Positive in the long-term, according to the GSS Economic Statistician.

He projects that in the short term some problems in the form of worker absenteeism, slow trading and increased cost of production among others may crop up within the private and public business space, but in three months things would pick up pace.

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