The National Board for Small Scale Industries is confident that interventions to ease the impact of COVID-19 on Micro Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) will result in a robust and resilient MSME sector.
The NBSSI, which has set April ending for the GH¢600million government stimulus package for MSMEs, along with a GH¢90million MasterCard programme to come onstream, expects the interventions to provide drastic relief for the sector in the midst of devastating effects from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The GH¢600million government soft-loan scheme and MasterCard’s programme – NBSSI MasterCard Foundation Recovery and Resilience Programme for MSMEs – according to NBSSI’s Executive Director, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, will benefit over 60,000 businesses.
“MSMEs are at the heart of what we do, so we want to do whatever it takes to ensure that they survive and go through this tough time; we are doing this to ensure that MSMEs are a force to reckon with after the pandemic,” she told the B&FT.
“At the end of the day, we need MSMEs that are resilient and are able to recover after the pandemic to be stronger and better. We need businesses to able to grow, be able to retain staff, and to create more jobs for as many people as possible,” Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh further added.
The support, she explains, will benefit SMEs that have been impacted negatively by COVID-19 and those that provide essential products and services toward the fight against the deadly virus which has led to a global economic lockdown.
She said prospective applicants must also be registered, in addition to having Tax Identification Numbers (TIN), among others.
To ensure transparency and that only deserving businesses benefit from the support, an online application platform is being built; meanwhile, a committee comprising private sector players and various business associations will be set up to review, assess and identify the needs of all applicants.
Additionally, the maximum amount a business can receive under government’s stimulus package, according to her, will be determined after assessment by the committee. “We are looking at kick-starting the schemes as early as this month. We just want to put in place structures to ensure that only deserving SMEs benefit from the support,” she said.
Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh further revealed that her outfit is also engaging other donor partners, governments and agencies to get more support to cushion MSMEs against the COVID-19 crisis.
MasterCard, NBSSI partnership
The initiative is in line with government’s support for MSMEs and will receive additional investment from other donors and institutions. It will focus on MSMEs and start-ups needing support to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, businesses in growth sectors where the employment of young people, especially women, will be negatively impacted as a result of business operation disruptions, supply chain challenges, liquidity shortages, declining sales and profits, and business closures, will also be aided.
It will also benefit businesses providing services that will be in demand during the pandemic and which have the potential to grow and positively impact communities affected by COVID-19, as well as those that will focus on digitisation to support MSMEs.
The initiative’s creation, according to a statement, follows the recent opening of MasterCard’s West, Central and Northern Regional office in Accra to drive its Young Africa Works strategy in the region.