At least 22 million Ghanaians could potentially have suffered a drop in their income since March this year when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, a new study conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service has shown.
The survey, titled “A Brief on Covid-19 Households and Jobs Tracker,” which analysed the impact of the pandemic on households and sources of income spanning March 16, 2020 and June ending revealed that at least 77 percent of households experienced a decline in income.
Households relying on income from non-farm family businesses were the hardest hit due to the restrictions on movement to curb the spread of the virus.
While household income was dropping, public anxiety over the lockdown caused hikes in food prices. The study showed that 77.4 percent of households reported being severely affected by the increase in food prices.
To cope with the effects of the pandemic on their livelihoods, more than half, 52.1 percent, of households reduced food consumption. Only 9 percent of the 3,000 households engaged in the survey reported having recorded some form of support, specifically free food.
The survey, however, found out that of the 29.9 percent of children (6-14 years) on the school feeding programme, more than half still received food in the last four weeks although schools remain closed.
“We expect the impact to weather when we collect data for the second wave, as a result of the numerous business support schemes rolled out by the government and as well as the general ease in restrictions,” Coordinator of the project Omar Seidu told Business24 in an interview in Accra.
Impact on education
The closure of schools is a major challenge for households without access to digital learning tools.
According to the survey, some 35 percent of basic school students, and 28 percent of senior high school students were not engaged in any form of learning during the closure of schools.
Access to these tools is affecting a quarter (25.6 percent) of basic school children and one-third (32.7 percent) of SHS students.
Despite the COVID-19 sparked anxiety among households, 96.6 percent of students at the basic and secondary levels responded they are likely to return to school once schools reopen.