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NBSSI disburses GH¢37m stimulus fund to creative arts practitioners

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Mr Frank Owusu
Mr Frank Owusu

The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has disbursed GH¢37 million to creative arts practitioners who applied for loans under the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP BuSS).

The 24,464 beneficiaries have since invested their share of the fund in their respective businesses to save the sector from the negative impact of the COVID-19.

The beneficiaries, who received between GH¢1,000 and GH¢200,000, are from 12 creative arts associations which were supported by the Creative Arts Agency (CAA).

They include people in the garment and textiles sub-sector, photographers, hairdressers and beauticians, musical instruments and electronic dealers, furniture makers, music producers, event and meeting professionals, artisans, smock and Kente weavers, leather dealers and makers, goldsmiths and jewellers, musicians and film producers.

The CAP BuSS is a special fund set up by the government last year to help cushion MSMEs from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was established with seed capital of GH¢600 million and subsequently increased to GH¢750 million.

The Head of Operations at the CAA, Mr Frank Owusu, made this known in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra last Saturday.

Context

Most firms in the creative and tourism space have not been able to generate enough funds to pay their staff, following restrictions placed on social gathering to contain the spread of the COVID-19.

This has brought financial hardships on practitioners and other businesses, for which reason the government set up the CAP BuSS to help alleviate their plight.

In spite of the availability of the fund, some industry players, including creative arts practitioners, are yet to benefit from the stimulus package.

Mr Owusu, however, disagreed with that assertion, insisting that majority of the applicants had benefitted from the fund.

The agency had so far supported 12 creative arts member associations, out of the 15 associations under its umbrella, to access the package.

“An appreciable number of creative arts businesses and individuals who applied for the stimulus package through the agency have received their share, according to records available to us,” he added.

According to the National President of the Ghana Hairdressers and Beauticians Association (GHABA), Ms Tina Yirenkyi, about 247 out of the 600 members sponsored through CAA had received their share of the fund.

The Chairman of the National Fashion Designers Union of Ghana, Mr Tony Kwesi Owusu, also confirmed that out of the 76 members who applied, 71 had received their share of the fund by the close of business last Friday.

“We validated all our members to ensure that they are in a position to repay the loans before we sponsored them. We also plan to visit the beneficiaries after one year of accessing this package to ensure that they begin the repayment processes,” he said.

New agency

The CAA is the umbrella body of all creative arts under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

The agency was established under the Creative Arts Act to properly manage the sector.

“Among its duties is to regulate all the creative domains in the country through some identified 15 creative arts associations. As a mother body, we sponsored a number of applications from creative arts practitioners for them to benefit from the package,” Mr Owusu said.

He said that was to ensure that the agency effectively monitored the system to ensure that beneficiaries paid back their loans within the stipulated period.