President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday launched a GH¢1 billion COVID-19 Alleviation Business Support Programme to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The amount is expected to support businesses in areas such as agriculture and agribusiness, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, education, food and beverages, technology, transportation, commerce, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and textile and garments.
Additionally, MSMEs which need expansion to meet the growing demand for COVID-19 related goods and services can also apply.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the business support programme, which is expected to reach 180 beneficiaries across the country will help minimise job losses in the wake of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Out of GH¢1.2 billion earmarked for the programme, he said GH¢600 million will be disbursed as soft loans to MSMEs with one year moratorium and two years repayment. The rate of interest on the loans is three per cent.
Aside the GH¢1billion facility for MSMEs, the President indicated that the government will make available a GH¢3 billion credit and stimulus package to help boost businesses.
The Ghanaian Times applauds government for this initiative aimed at helping all businesses that have been heavily hit by COVID-19 in the country.
The harm that has been caused by the outbreak on Ghanaian businesses cannot be overemphasized.
The package, we believe, offers a huge sigh of relief to businesses which have seen their productivity levels and revenue reduced drastically and are struggling to hold on to their employees.
It is true that globally, the pandemic has rendered economies flat and affected the income of government, businesses and households.
In Ghana, MSMEs, which accounted for 70 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and represented 92 per cent of businesses, have not been exempted.
This is why it is imperative that we support all efforts to ensure the success of the COVID-19 Alleviation Programme (CAP) Business Support Scheme to protect jobs and bring back the country’s economy to life when the dust settles.
We urge all businesses to take advantage of the government’s support programme and use the funds for the intended purposes to resuscitate their businesses and further enhance Ghana’s economic growth.
We are also mindful that not all businesses can be supported owing to limited funds and so we urge all beneficiaries to pay back on time to enable government extend similar support to others.
Even as we commend government for this laudable initiative, we will urge the country mobilise more funds to support other sectors including the media which are not expected to benefit from the support scheme in these difficult times.