… 400,000 businesses seek over GH¢2bn support
Data from the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) have revealed that 400,000 businesses seeking a total sum of over GH¢2billion applied to benefit from the NBSSI and Mastercard Foundation Nkosuo loan scheme, whereas only GH¢90million is available to 25,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
According to the Executive Director of the NBSSI, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, the investment committee of the NBSSI has held a series of meetings on how best to begin disbursement of the funds – taking into consideration the oversubscription and challenges faced during the disbursement of the first Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP BuSS), the Adom Micro-Soft Loans for micro-enterprises.
She added that from experience, the deadline for application was not extended. “For the Nkosuo we did not extend the deadline; I think we learnt lessons from CAPBuss not to extend the deadline. So, we stuck with the deadline we had (October 15).
“We had over 400,000 people applying for it and requesting in excess of GH¢2billion. We had conversations with the investment committee to start the process of disbursement to support businesses. One of the things we made clear is that if someone has benefitted from our past government funding, they can’t benefit from this. We want to allow new people to benefit so we spread the opportunities,” she said.
When the B&FT asked for disbursement timelines, Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh said: “As soon as possible” adding that “I think we have learnt our lessons from CAPBuSS, so we won’t be giving strict deadlines. We have never before had the chance to use a technology platform to serve the masses; we have never seen these numbers before, and so the beauty of this is that we are learning from our past experiences”.
The Nkosuo programme will focus on supporting MSMEs and start-ups needing assistance to survive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; and businesses in growth sectors where the employment of young people, especially young women, are being significantly impacted by business operation disruptions, supply chain challenges, liquidity shortages, declining sales and profits, and business closures.
Also, businesses providing services that have the potential to meet growing demands of communities during and after the pandemic; and businesses which focus on digitisation to support MSMEs are eligible to apply.
The Nkosuo programme complements existing programmes and is completely different from the disbursement process of current government programmes, including the government of Ghana Coronavirus Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises (Ghana-CARES) Programme that focuses largely on developing sustainable MSMEs as a critical part of Ghana’s post-COVID-19 recovery strategy. The programme comes after a successful roll-out of the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP BuSS).