The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has distributed 70 laptops and printers to its member associations to enhance their ability to gather and update data of its members, so as to help in policy formulation to grow Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
According to the NBSSI, its recent mandate to distribute the GH¢600million stimulus package to MSMEs exposed the challenge of data; a development that slowed the process of disbursement.
“You know data is king. If you don’t have data, you can’t analyse. If you don’t have the data to figure who the association members are, you can’t support the association; so, we have to build a whole set of data from the ground up. The reason why we gave them this is that the majority of associations were not able to bring proper data on their members and where they are located. Those who managed to bring something also didn’t have up-to-date data.
“This brought a lot of challenge when it came to working with associations to disburse the money. We were also relying on them to monitor the process. We also wanted to give them the data that we would get out of this exercise to strengthen their associations, and in future we could reference it for policy decisions,” the Executive Director of NBSSI, Kosi Yankey-Aryeh, said in a media interview.
The computers are also to help the associations assist its members to apply for the loans and track the progress of their applications. “Members of the associations who were technologically deficient went to their offices with the hope that they could be aided to apply for the stimulus package; they go there and are disappointed because there is no computer,” Mrs. Yankey-Aryeh added.
The IT materials were given to the association after it made a request for NBSSI to help enhance its capacity to gather information on members. The request fell into the plans of the NBSSI as intimated by the Executive Director.
“At the beginning of the process, we had made it clear that we were going to strengthen the Associations as well. When we do that, it will be a good step to push for policy interventions going forward. This was upon a request made by some of the associations, that they would need help to gather data to facilitate their operations.”
Some association that were present at the handing over event were: The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF), Association of Small-Scale Industries (ASSI), Ghana Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs (GCYE), Ghana National Association of Garment Makers (GNAGM), Ghana National Tailors and Dressmakers Association (GNTDA).
Meanwhile, owners of micro-businesses across the country have begun receiving their share of the special fund set up by government to cushion micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Last week, the NBSSI began the disbursement of GH¢1million to 1,000 applicants under the first tranche of the GH¢1 billion Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) business support scheme.
“On the disbursement, we made sure that every region benefits from the first tranche. We did this by percentage allocation. We looked at the regional breakdown, and after that looked at the sectors and then the associations,” Mrs. Yankey-Aryeh said.