President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, launched the GH¢1 billion Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme, which is being provided by the government and selected participating banks to micro, small and medium-scale businesses around the country.
Launching the Scheme at the president - Jubilee House - President Akufo-Addo explained that the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on all economies around the world, with reduced productivity, job losses, and steep decline in revenues for Government, businesses, households and individuals in Ghana.
Amongst the hardest hit in Ghana, according to the President, are micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs), which account for 70 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, and represent some 92% of businesses.
“This amply highlights the important role MSMEs play in the growth and development of our economy, necessitating the special attention of Government,” he said.
This, President Akufo-Addo said, “provides the basis for my direction to the Minister for Finance to send to Parliament the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP), whose objective is to protect households and livelihoods, support micro, small, and medium-scale businesses, minimise job losses, and source additional funding for promotion of industries to shore up and expand industrial output for domestic consumption and exports.”
Out of the 1.2 billion cedis earmarked for this Programme, GH¢600 million will be disbursed as soft loans to MSMEs, with up to a one-year moratorium and a two-year repayment period. The rate of interest on government’s GH¢600 million) facility is three percent (3%).
Additionally, selected participating banks will provide negotiated counterpart funding to the tune of GH¢400 million, making, in all, GH¢1 billion for disbursement under this Business Support Scheme, with the entire scheme set to attract some 180,000 beneficiaries across the country.
With the funds under the Scheme to be managed by NBSSI, and to be supervised by a loans committee, composed of one representative each of the Ministries of Finance and Trade and Industry, a representative of the NBSSI, and a representative of the participating banks, the well-known audit firm, KPMG, will act as technical advisors to the Scheme.
“Disbursement of the funds will be effected through the participating banks. Transparency and accountability will be the hallmarks of the operation of the Scheme,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that the Scheme is targeted at MSMEs in the formal and informal sectors, which have been affected by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, with MSMEs in growth sectors that require additional capital to expand their business to meet growing demand for COVID-19 related goods and services, also eligible to apply.
The beneficiary sectors include agri and agro-businesses; manufacturing; water and sanitation; tourism and hospitality; education; food and beverages; technology; transportation; commerce and trade; healthcare and pharmaceuticals; and textiles and garments.
In order to ensure a smooth application process for all eligible candidates, application forms have been made available online on the website of NBSSI, which is www.nbssi.gov.gh. It is also available via USSD code across all mobile networks, and applicants can also call the CAP Business Call Centre on 0302 477 777, or visit the nearest NBSSI Business Advisory Centre for assistance with their applications.
The President added that beneficiaries must be either self-employed, sole proprietors, or engaged in a limited liability, partnership, or joint venture arrangement.
“A total of ninety-nine (99) employees is the limit of employment for any qualifying enterprise. The qualifying enterprise will be encouraged to belong to a trade association or group, and be registered with NBSSI. The application process starts tomorrow, 20th May, and ends on Saturday, 20th June,” he said.
The President urged beneficiaries to use the funds received for the intended purpose, “so that, together, we can work to grow our economy once again. Smaller enterprises can access funds from the Adom Micro Loans, and larger ones from the Anidasuo Soft Loan. This whole Scheme is meant to engender compassion and hope, the pillars upon which we will build a new post-COVID Ghana.”
Reiterating his passion for the success of the Scheme, President Akufo-Addo reminded beneficiaries of the fact that “Government is investing a lot in it, and I am confident that the proper application of these funds will help our nation bounce back stronger and better than before.”