The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has extended to June 26, the deadline for applications for government’s GH₵ 1 billion Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP BuSS).
Closing date for applications under the scheme meant to support micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) badly hit by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, was initially scheduled for June 20, 2020.
Executive Director of NBSSI, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh at a news conference in Accra yesterday indicated that the six-day extension had become necessary following concerns raised by applicants in the submission of bids to qualify in accessing the funds.
“Together with the CAP BuSS Steering Committee, we had to give all concerns careful thought to arrive at the extension however, we believe it is enough time for applicants to put in their requests therefore, when it elapse we won’t extend anymore,” she stated.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh cited reasons accounting for the extension as including challenges with acquisition of tax identification numbers (TIN), discrepancies in submitted accounts, inaccessibility to the portal due to network challenges and the need to mop up paper applications from applicants in rural areas unto the digitised system.
“Our focus is to ensure inclusivity, so that all eligible MSMEs are given the opportunity to apply. This grace period presents an opportunity to rectify complaints and errors of applicants with wrong credentials recorded on the digitised application portal,” she said.
According to the Executive Director, to ensure the grace period is efficiently utilised, the NBSSI had intensified partnership with the Ghana Revenue Authority to facilitate the acquisition of TIN for applicants.
Businesses and trade associations, she noted, had also been supported with extra IT personnel to train them on efficient data entry processes unto the scheme’s portal, saying “the board had deployed additional IT personnel to support applicants with wrong credentials based on specific needs.”
Additionally, Mrs Yankey-Ayeh disclosed that the NBSSI had created a special portal on its website to solely address complaints from applicants before the closing date, urging associations and business owners to first engage the board before going public with their grievances.
On when actual disbursement of funds will take place, the Executive Director explained that once all applicants were verified, payments would begin.
“We will soon begin with the disbursement. We will start with the first leg which is the micro businesses then afterwards; we tackle the medium to large scale companies,” she said.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH