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; but the biggest challenge facing the scheme is gathering necessary data.
The scheme, run by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), shows a doubling of the 64,000 figure presented by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta in his 2020 Mid-year Budget Review presentation.
The 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.
However, the NBSSI has said that data collection from the associations it is working with continues to be a headache and drags the process of disbursement. “Beside the financial aspect of the CAP BUS Programme, it has also helped to strengthen some of the associations; and nobody can underestimate that.
“If nothing else, you will come out as stronger associations to support government deliver on its mandate,” the Executive Director of NBSSI, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said at a meeting to distribute 33 laptops and printers to members of the Association of Small Scale Industries (ASSI).
Speaking in an interview, Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh added that: “You know data is king. If you don’t have data, you can’t analyse. If you don’t have the data to tell 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 challenges 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 we would get out of this exercise to strengthen their associations, and in future we can reference it for policy decisions,” she said.
According to the acting General Secretary of the ASSI, Abdullah Alhassan Samari, the gesture from NBSSI could not have come at a better time as it will afford them an opportunity to gather, update and store relevant data to impact the economy.
He said the Association has tried to keep data of its members in a hard-copy form, which is not easily transferable to institutions upon request. “This will help us to digitalise the data we have been keeping over the years, and ensure it is stored in a format that is safe for future use and also easy to send with the click of a button,” Mr. Alhassan Samari said in an interview.
Some association which have benefitted from the support include The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF), Ghana Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs (GCYE), Ghana National Association of Garment Makers (GNAGM), and the Ghana National Tailors and Dressmakers Association (GNTDA).