… GH¢1.83m to 625 victims under the first tranche
The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has provided GH¢1.83million in financial relief to 625 victims of the Odawna Market fire outbreak a day after the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) made available GH¢2million in soft loans to 2,000 victims.
The NBSSI’s support, which is meant to help these micro and small business owners revive their businesses in time for the festive season, is the first tranche of a comprehensive stimulus package. The beneficiaries received between GH¢1,000 and GH¢5,000 via mobile money.
Executive Director of the NBSSI, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said the disbursement will be done continuously until end of this week. “After completing registration of the victims on November 25, the NBSSI has commenced payment of stimulus packages to them. As at the close of work yesterday, the first 625 fire victims of Odawna had received support from NBSSI,” she said.
She noted that the NBSSI had already registered some persons from the market who applied for the Coronavirus Alleviation Program Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) and have also been affected by the fire. As a result, they gave priority to them and some others – allowing the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) to take care of some of the affected traders who were not in their system.
The two state institutions, she noted, have synchronised their data to ensure there is no duplication of disbursement. “We have data of about 2,100 approximately; out of that, 100 of them had duplicate entries/registrations and we have a 1,000 we are working with; MASLOC will take care of the next batch.”
Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh is optimistic the financial relief will go a long way to stimulate the economy. “This money is to help them bring their businesses back to life. We are heading for Christmas, and that is the time they are expected to make some profit to take care of their families. Remember, we are not in normal times because COVID-19 has made it difficult to trade; and prices of goods have been hiked due to global supply chain issues, so we decided to do this quickly so that they can get their businesses back ASAP.”
Some victims the paper spoke with were elated and grateful for the packages. According to them, even though the amounts may not equate to their loss, it is enough to start all over again and they will be prudent in ensuring repayment when it is due.
“The president promised and it has been delivered; we say thank you to him and NBSSI. It is now our duty to multiply this money and pay back, so that in future if others face this unexpected situation government can come to their aid,” said one of the traders’ leaders, Prince Yamoah.