President launches GH¢600m COVID-19 Alleviation Programme today
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will today launch a GH¢600 million Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) business support scheme intended to support small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The fund is intended to provide relief to SMEs across the country that has been negatively affected by the disease.
In his fifth televised address to the nation, the President announced that government has partnered with the private sector to introduce a scheme in support of SMEs which were facing challenges owing to COVID-19.
“Government, in collaboration with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Business & Trade Associations and selected Commercial and Rural Banks, will roll out a soft loan scheme up to a total of GH¢600 million, which will have a one-year moratorium and two-year repayment period for micro, small and medium scale businesses,” he stated.
Executive Director of NBSSI, Esi Kosi Antwiwaa Yankey, earlier stated that the Board has developed an online portal to enable SMEs across the country access the GH¢600 million stimulus packages for businesses.
She said the portal was to ensure transparency and efficiency in disbursement of the package to applicants.
Speaking at a press briefing in Accra, she explained that the board was in discussions with concerned stakeholders to come up with eligibility criteria to ensure that viable businesses which were in need were supported.
She stated that more than 200,000 businesses would be supported under the coronavirus (COVID-19) stimulus package for SMEs adding that the NBSSI was further engaging traders and business owners to sensitise them on the package and how they could access it.
Applications from businesses, Madam Yankey, noted, would be processed through the portal, which was yet to be launched.
The Executive Director is expected to announce modalities for disbursement of the Scheme, and invited SMEs who require technical support, and not just financial support to reach out as well to the board.
Several platforms including nbssi.gov.gh/capsupport; mobile number platform (USSD) *718*555#; Call Centre Helpline: 030 274 7777, email address firstname.lastname@example.org have been made available to ensure access.
The SMEs sector, according to the University of Ghana study in 2015, contribute about 70 per cent to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and account for about 92 per cent of businesses in the country.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS