Editorial : Stimulus package beneficiaries double, showing keen interest

Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) Business Support Scheme

The total number of beneficiaries for the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) Business Support Scheme has reached 120,000 – with every district in the country recording at least one beneficiary.

This represents a doubling of the 64,000 figure presented by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta in his 2020 Mid-year Budget Review presentation. That notwithstanding, it is pleasing to learn that the scheme is going according to plan and the list of beneficiaries traverses all 216 districts of the country.

Even with that, the NBSSI complains that data collection from the associations it is working with continues to be a headache, dragging the process of disbursement.

The Executive Director of NBSSI, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, notes that data is king. “If you don’t have data, you can’t analyse” – and that explains the slow roll-out of the stimulus package announced at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This brought a lot of challenges when it came to working with associations to disburse the money,” she added.

A take-away from the whole exercise is that it has also helped to strengthen some of the associations, since it is well documented that most SMEs in the country lack good book-keeping skills; and that is a primary reason why they are unable to access credit from financial institutions.

Now that they have been adequately captured in NBSSI’s database, going forward it should be easier to track their activities and render any assistance that will be required to strengthen their activities.

Thus, in a bid to ensure an adequate database for micro-enterprises, Mrs Yankey-Ayeh presented 33 computers and printers to the Association of Small-Scale Industries (ASSI) for use at its regional offices to enhance the ability to gather and update data of members to help in policy formulation.

Beneficiaries comprise the Adom and Anidaso Special loan schemes developed to channel funds to applicants. The Adom Special Loan comprises micro-enterprises which applied for less than GH¢2,000; while the Anidaso Special loan is for businesses that applied for funding above GH¢2,000.

The stimulus package, launched by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on May 19, was designed to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises weather through the COVID-19 pandemic. It is good to see that the scheme is working well and has even exceeded its initial target.

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