More than 400,000 businesses have applied for support under’Nkosuo’, a new COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience programme introduced to cushion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) from the impact of the pandemic.
They are requesting in excess of GH₵2 billion cedis although the programme being run by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has an initial commitment of GH₵90 million from its partner, the Mastercard Foundation.
The Executive Director of the NBSSI, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, made this known to the Ghanaian Times in an interview in Accra on Friday, following the closure of the applications on October 16, 2020.
Launched on September 16, this year, the Nkosuo Programme would provide financial assistance, in the form of grants and soft loans, via participating institutions, including banks, fintechs and mobile lenders.
The amount and type of financial support to be provided to eligible MSMEs, both in the formal and informal sector, would vary depending on the size of the enterprise, their need, and repayment capacity.
With a one-year moratorium and a two-year repayment period , the programme would focus on supporting MSMEs and start-ups in sectors such as agriculture, water and sanitation, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, garment and personal protective equipment, the creative arts industry, manufacturing and food.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said the investment committee of the board had begun discussions on disbursement and how to ensure the progress was seamless and provide the needed support to qualified applicants.
“One of the things we made clear was that if someone has benefitted from other alleviation programmes, they will not befit from this one because we want other people to benefit so we can spread the wealth and opportunities.
“We have a database and so it tells us those who have benefited from a programme and those who intend to benefit from another and so before we make payments it goes through a process and aligns all payment,” she said.
Mrs-Ayeh said the board did not have plans to extend the deadline for the programme and hinted that in the coming weeks the disbursement plan would be announced.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR