The Ghana Enterprises Agency is set to implement phase two of the COVID-19 Response Grant programme to provide liquidity and support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in selected sectors of the economy, enabling them to adjust and grow out of the COVID-19 crisis.
The nationwide grant programme will focus only on SMEs most impacted by COVID-19, as well as those which showed resilience during the pandemic.
The grant programme is expected to spur the economic recovery of SMEs, focusing strongly on Ghanaian export firms that fall within the small and medium enterprise category. Export firms and export-oriented SMEs will be awarded extra scores, and therefore have an edge over non-exporting SMEs in the scoring for grant applications.
Announcing that GH¢38million is earmarked for phase two of the COVID-19 Response Grant programme during a National Stakeholder Engagement in Accra, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, acknowledged the challenges businesses are going through as a result of economic woes brought about by COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war.
Given the above, she said: “There’s no room for doubt that businesses do need support, and this highlights the urgent need to salvage our businesses”; hence the commencement of phase two of disbursements from the COVID-19 Response Grant Programme.
Moving forward, Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh observed that the GEA’s due diligence process will determine the veracity of export data supplied at the grant application stage; and that applicants who supply any false or exaggerated claims of export data which cannot be supported with requisite documentation at the due diligence stage of the process will be terminated, and no longer be eligible for the grants even if they scored high and are shortlisted.
“Applications supplying false or exaggerated data will therefore be declared null and void,” she warned.
Again, speaking to the Business & Financial Times (B&FT) on the sidelines of the national stakeholder engagement, Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh added that the grants programme will support SMEs – across both spectrums of negatively impacted and positively impacted SMEs – through compensation for losses or drawbacks suffered because of the pandemic; as well as reward SMEs which have thrived through productivity, financial growth and competitiveness under the COVID-19 pandemic.
Designed to support 350 growth-oriented SMEs, the key sectors to be supported by the grant include: agriculture/agro-processing, manufacturing, textiles & garments, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and producers of PPEs, ICT, education, trade/commerce, construction, transport and logistics
Results and early impact of the grant
In phase one of the COVID-19 Response Grant Programme, the GEA received a total of 16,604 applications and validated a total of 6,875 applicants – 3,793 females and 3,082 males.
A total of GH¢28.7million was disbursed to 373 SMEs during the first phase between September 2021 to March 2022.
There were 158 women-owned enterprises out of these 373 SMEs, with a value of GH¢10.5million.
Beneficiaries of the Grant Programme have created a minimum of 134 (82 males: 52 females) new permanent jobs; and 156 (76 males: 80 females) new casual jobs between September 2021 to March 2022.
Overall, the scheme has chalked up an over-90 percent satisfaction rate based on an online survey conducted in March 2022.