MORE than 200,000 medium, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have received their share of the special fund, set up by the government to cushion small and medium-scale businesses from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
This means that the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has already exceeded its earlier 200,000 businesses target by the end of the disbursement.
But as of September 12, the NBSSI said it had successfully disbursed some GHȼ390 million out of the GHȼ750 million Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP BuSS) to 200,000 applicants.
The beneficiaries were selected out of about 800,000 applications and they received between GHȼ900 and GHȼ250,000 under what is known as the Anidaso and Adom special loans.
Businesses from sectors such as health care and pharmaceutical, manufacturing, agri and agri-business, water and sanitation, tourism and hospitality, education, textiles and garments, commerce or trade, and service benefited from the scheme.
The Executive Director of NBSSI, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, in an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS on September 13 in Accra, observed that the stimulus package was introduced by the government to support businesses that were directly affected by the pandemic.
The CAP BuSS is a special fund set up by the government to cushion micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The government set up the special fund with a seed capital of GHȼ600 million and subsequently topping it up with GHȼ150 million.
Its key objective is to help protect as many jobs as possible as COVID-19 rages.
Timely relief programme
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh observed that the scheme has disbursed GHȼ390 million to 200,000 MSMEs in all sectors, in all regions and districts in the country.
“The CAP BuSS will indeed benefit as many eligible businesses as possible, to ensure their survival, as well as that of households that depended on such businesses.
“There is no doubt that this relief programme is timely and most welcome,” she added.
She said the special fund was categorised into Anidaso and Adom special loans, with an interest rate of three per cent, payable within two years after a moratorium of one year.
She explained that disbursements of the fund started in July with businesses in the Adom Micro category and were still ongoing.
“Disbursements of the Anidaso Loans (comprising businesses in the upper micro, small and medium categories) were also initiated in August 2020.”
The Executive Director indicated that with people losing their jobs through reduction of staff strength by businesses as a result of the negative impact of the COVID-19, the board was also working hard to support businesses, including those which had come out with innovations.
“Figures from the Statistical Service reveal that micro enterprises constitute about 80 per cent of the MSME sector; small businesses constitute 15 per cent, and medium enterprises one per cent.”
“So, the COVID-19 Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme is expected to reach MSMEs in total.”
“We have done it in such a way that it is representative of the entire sector,” she said.
According to her, the COVID-19 had negatively impacted nations, including Ghana, and that some of the hardest hit Ghanaian businesses were in the category of MSMEs in both the formal and the informal sectors.
Those, she said, made up about 70 per cent of the Ghanaian economy, saying that “in view of this, the President, in his wisdom, set up the special fund as an emergency relief to these categories of businesses”.