Akufo-Addo launches GH¢1b Covid-19 Alleviation Programme
Yesterday, President Akufo-Addo unveiled the government’s GH¢1 billion Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme.
The programme is being provided by the government and selected participating banks to Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs) across the country.
Out of the total amount for the programmed, GH¢600 million will be disbursed as soft loans to MSMEs, with up to a one-year moratorium and a two-year repayment period. The rate of interest on the government’s GH¢600 million facility is three percent.
The entire scheme is set to attract some 180,000 beneficiaries across the country, with selected participating banks to provide negotiated counterpart funding to the tune of GH¢400 million.
The fund, under the Scheme, is to be managed by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), and supervised by a loans committee, composed of one representative each from the ministries of Finance and Trade and Industry, a representative of the NBSSI, and a representative of the participating banks, while the well-known audit firm, KPMG, will act as technical advisors.
In his address at the launch of the programme, which took place at Jubilee House, President Akufo-Addo said: “Disbursement of the funds will be effected through the participating banks,” and gave the assurance that “transparency and accountability will be the hallmarks of the operation of the Scheme.”
According to the President, the Scheme is targeted at MSMEs in the formal and informal sectors, which have been affected by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
He added that MSMEs in growth sectors that require additional capital to expand their businesses to meet the growing demand for COVID-19 related goods and services are also eligible to apply.
The beneficiary sectors include agri and agro-businesses; manufacturing; water and sanitation; tourism and hospitality; education; food and beverages; technology; transportation; commerce and trade; healthcare and pharmaceuticals; and textiles and garments.
The President added that beneficiaries must be either self-employed, sole proprietors, or engaged in a limited liability, partnership, or joint venture arrangement.
“A total of 99 employees is the limit of employment for any qualifying enterprise. The qualifying enterprise will be encouraged to belong to a trade association or group, and be registered with [the] NBSSI. The application process starts tomorrow, 20th May, and ends on Saturday, 20th June,” he said.
The President urged the beneficiaries to use the funds received for the intended purposes, “so that, together, we can work to grow our economy once again. Smaller enterprises can access funds from the Adom Micro Loans, and larger ones from the Anidasuo Soft Loan. This whole Scheme is meant to engender compassion and hope, the pillars upon which we will build a new post-COVID Ghana.”
Reiterating his passion for the success of the Scheme, President Akufo-Addo reminded the beneficiaries of the fact that the “Government is investing a lot in it, and I am confident that the proper application of these funds will help our nation bounce back stronger and better than before.”
In order to ensure a smooth application process for all eligible candidates, application forms have been made available online on the website of NBSSI, which is www.nbssi.gov.gh.
It is also available via USSD code across all mobile networks, and applicants can also call the CAP Business Call Centre on 0302 477 777, or visit the nearest NBSSI Business Advisory Centre for assistance with their applications.
President Akufo-Addo said the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on economies in the world, particularly Ghana, amply highlights the important role MSMEs play in the growth and development of the economy, a development, he said, necessitated the special attention of government.
The development, President Akufo-Addo said, provided the basis for his direction to the Minister for Finance to send to Parliament the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP).
The objective is to “protect households and livelihoods, support micro, small, and medium-scale businesses, minimise job losses, and source additional funding for promotion of industries to shore up and expand industrial output for domestic consumption and exports,” the President remarked.