Some owners of small businesses across the country have started accessing their share of the new round of stimulus packages introduced by government to cushion micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) yesterday began the disbursement of GH¢13million to 212 applicants under the first tranche of the GH¢145million Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP) grant.
The beneficiaries were selected out of 21,000 applicants after meeting the rigorous criteria designed by the GEA, World Bank and other partners. They include businesses in agro-processing, food and beverages, health care, and manufacturing industries. They received between GH¢10,000 and GH¢20,000 grants to support their operational cost among other things.
At an orientation and signing agreement ceremony for the beneficiaries in Accra, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GEA, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said the fund was set up to support Ghanaian SMEs unlock their potential and become global giants. “So, today is the first phase of the disbursements; the second phase will also be disbursed before end of the year, but next year we will start a new process for the SME grant that’s meant to build the private sector to be sustainable and create more jobs for Ghanaians,” she stated.
More than 21,000 businesses applied to benefit from the fund by end of the application deadline on August 11, 2021. The applications were from businesses across the country’s 16 regions, and were reviewed in accordance with rigorous guidelines by the grant committee made up of representatives from GEA, World Bank and other partners, said Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh.
Charging the beneficiaries to use the funds for their intended purpose, she explained that the intervention “is a grant, and so it is not to be paid back; but we are to ensure that they are being used directly for the intended purpose”.
SHE STATED THAT the GEA and its partners set benchmarks to track the number of jobs created and growth of the businesses for a certain period of time.
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei, said government is keen to ensure SMEs grow and become the backbone of Ghana’s economy, especially after the devastation brought on it by COVID-19. “So, this grant is provided to ensure that SMEs are supported amid the ravages of COVID-19 to create additional jobs and address the country’s unemployment situation,” she said.
A beneficiary of the grant, Johnny Rigdy Majdoub – also Executive Director of ESJAY Services, thanked government for the support and said the funds will be used for the intended purpose. “We are going to invest this grant as received so that it achieves intended purpose, so that next time the scope can be extended,” he added.