The Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) will from today begin the disbursement of GH¢2million to 1,000 traders who had their shops destroyed by fire at the Odawna Market two weeks ago.
The money, which has a one-year payment moratorium, will be given to the traders at no interest. The loan, geared at alleviating the plight of the traders, will be the first interest-free loan from MASLOC since its establishment, Deputy Director for MASLOC, Maame Afia Akoto, told the B&FT in an interview.
According to her, the disbursement is not a duplication of financial support the traders are expecting from the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) in the coming days. “If you take this, you cannot receive any package from the NBSSI,” Mrs. Akoto told the traders at a meeting to announce modalities for the disbursement.
The traders, upon hearing the news, were delighted and praised government for the swift effort. Their leaders told the B&FT that they are going to ensure that the monies are put to good use to ensure smooth repayment to stimulate the economy.
“This is a loan that has come our way at a very difficult time; this money is to help us start our businesses again. It is not meant for feeding our kids or buying cloth for ceremonies – and that is the education we will drum home to the traders so they are conscious of what the money must be used for,” said one of their leaders, Kwame Oppong.
Already, MASLOC and NBSSI have registered the traders whose wares were destroyed by fire ahead of financial support. In all, over 3,000 traders were registered. According to the NBSSI, it is also frantically working to complete all necessary profiling of requests from the traders to be able to offer them some loan support.
During a visit to the market last week, the CEO of NBSSI, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said the NBSSI is also working with the Odawna Market Traders Association and Klottey Korle Municipal Assembly to ensure the funds are disbursed to victims of the disaster and not imposters.
“We started registering them and it is still ongoing; we want to get a good database and get to know specific needs of the traders. We want to provide the right assistance to each and every one that registers. Apart from that, the data will help in future planning to meet needs of the market.
“We are therefore carefully doing the registration, and when we get the data we will quickly process and disburse the funds. Already, some of them are not having it easy; we would want to quickly provide them some relief. We are getting close to Christmas and it is a big deal for them to make some money from the festive season,” Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh told the media.
It will be recalled that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, during a visit to the market on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, directed the NBSSI to make available funds to support traders who had their wares destroyed by the fire. According to President Akufo-Addo, this is to help affected traders recover from their losses.