The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) has started disbursing GH¢13.8 million to 212 applicants under the GH¢145 million Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP) grant.
The beneficiaries, under the first tranche of the grant, were selected out of 21,000 applicants after meeting the rigorous criteria designed by the GEA, World Bank and other partners.
They are owners of small businesses into agro-processing, food and beverage, health care, and manufacturing industries across the country and are receiving between GHȼ10,000 and GHȼ20,000 grant to support their operational costs, including purchase of raw materials, equipment, excluding the payment of salaries.
The disbursement is the new round of the stimulus package introduced by the government to cushion micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GEA, Mrs. Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, at an orientation and signing agreement ceremony for the beneficiaries in Accra yesterday, stated that the fund was setup to support Ghanaian SMEs to unlock their potential and become global giants.
She said the second phase of the disbursement would be done before the end of the year of which similar amounts of fund would be distributed.
"So today is the first phase of the disbursements, the second phase will also be disbursed before the end of the year but next year we will start a new process for the SME grant meant to build the private sector to be sustainable and create more jobs for Ghanaians.
"By the end of the application deadline on August 11, 2021, more than 21,000 businesses have applied to benefit from the fund.
"This application were from businesses across the 16 regions of the country and they were reviewed in accordance with rigorous guidelines by the grant committee made up of representatives from GEA, World Bank and other partners," she said.
The CEO said the beneficiaries were to invest the funds so that their businesses could progress and transform from small to medium and to large firms.
"It is a grant and so it is not to be paid back but we are to ensure that they are being used directly for the intended purpose.
"And also we have set benchmarks to track the number of jobs created and the growth of the businesses for a certain period of time," she said.
Supporting the economy
A Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei, stated that the government was keen to ensure that the SMEs grew and became the back bone supporting the development of the economy.
"So this grant is provided to ensure that SMEs are supported amid the ravages of the COVID-19 to create additional jobs to address the country's unemployment situation," she said.
She said the government, recognising the need to increase more support to SMEs, provided the GETP grant as a top up to the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP-BuSS).
The deputy minister said the GETP sought to promote private investment and firm growth in non-resource based sectors.
Under the GETP, she said GEA was to deploy two grant programmes to selected SMEs for productivity and competitiveness enhancing investments.
"COVID-19 Response Grant to cater for selected SMEs negatively impacted by the pandemic to serve as emergency liquidity support to cushion SMEs.
"SME growth grant to accelerate innovation, competitiveness and growth of high-growth potential SMEs using a combination of grants for technical assistance, and working capital."
A beneficiary of the grant, Mr. Johnny Rigdy Majdoub, also the Executive Director of ESJAY Services, thanked the government for the support and said the funds would be used for the intended purpose.
"We are going to invest this grant as received so that it achieves its intended purpose so that next time the scope can be extended," he added.