…25,000 business set to benefit
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) can begin the process to access a GH₵90million fund made available by the Mastercard Foundation, which is to be disbursed through the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) under the COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme.
The support scheme, dubbed the ‘Nkosuo’ programme, will provide financial assistance in the form of soft loans to 25,000 businesses nationwide across all sectors of the economy. The amount each eligible business can access will vary depending on size of the enterprise, their need, and repayment capacity.
Speaking at the programme’s launch in Accra, Executive Director of the NBSSI Kosi Yankey-Ayeh said to ensure accessibility and transparency of the registration and application process, NBSSI has made available an online application portal where applicants, beginning 17th September 2020, can start applying.
“The Nkosuo programme will be managed by NBSSI with the assistance of participating institutions; including banks, fintechs, and business development services. Eligible Ghanaian-owned MSMEs can apply for support online or directly from any of our 180 district offices across the country. The application process is free and transparent. Through Nkosuo, the Mastercard Foundation and NBSSI will help to accelerate the recovery process for thousands of MSMEs in Ghana,” she said.
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ahomka Lindsay, also commenting on the programme said it is yet another demonstration of government’s commitment to collaborating with the private sector to help businesses – especially, the micro, small and medium ones – to recover quickly from the pandemic’s ruinous effects.
He encouraged small businesses to take advantage of the programme, as they are considered the economy’s backbone. He further urged the NBSSI to ensure the funds are disbursed without fear or favour.
The Nkosuo programme will focus on supporting the following MSMEs and start-ups: MSMEs which need assistance to survive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; businesses in growth sectors where the employment of young people, especially young women, are being significantly impacted by business operation disruptions, supply chain challenges, liquidity shortages, declining sales and profits, and business closures.
Also, businesses providing services that have the potential to meet growing demands of communities during and after the pandemic; and businesses which focus on digitisation to support MSMEs are eligible to apply.
The Nkosuo programme complements existing programmes targetting the sector and is completely different from the disbursement process of current government programmes, including the Government of Ghana Coronavirus Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises (Ghana-CARES) Programme, which focuses largely on developing sustainable MSMEs as a critical part of Ghana’s post-COVID-19 recovery strategy.
The programme comes after a successful roll-out of the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP BuSS). The CAP BuSS is a special fund set up by government to cushion MSMEs from the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact.
Government set up this special fund with a seed capital of GH¢600million and subsequently topping it up with GH¢150million. Its key objective is to help protect as many jobs as possible while the COVID-19 rages on.