The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) will from next week start the disbursement of about eight million cedis grant to approximately 120 small and medium enterprises (SMES) to support the growth of their business.
They are part of the second batch of beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Response Grant, under the World Bank-funded Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP), which was rolled out earlier this year.
At an orientation and contract signing ceremony for the beneficiaries in Accra yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer of the GEA, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said the grant is to cover operational costs such as purchase of raw materials and equipment and not payment of salaries.
She said the beneficiaries were selected from more than 21,000 applicants who were subjected to various assessment, analysis, due diligence checks of their business by grant and other technical committees.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said the second batch was made up of 212 businesses who would receive GH¢ 23million under the GETP that is designed to provide technical and financial support to businesses to transform their business and the economy.
She said monitoring and evaluating teams from GEA and World Bank would check on the use of the funds to ensure that beneficiaries would use the allocations judiciously.
“Use the funds to transform our business and create jobs. We will come round to see what you’re doing with the fund but if it is not utilised then we’ll come for the money and give it to other people”, she said.
Starting from next year, Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said the technical assistance component of the programme would be rolled out to facilitate the growth of the business of the beneficiaries.
She said the GEA and its partners would institute other funding opportunities to further accelerate the advancement of businesses.
She said the last two years had been challenging for the SMEs due the COVID-19 pandemic, but the government had supported them through initiatives including the Ghc600 million Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) and the Ghc15 million GEA Mastercard Foundation resilience programme.
The Director of the One-District- One-Factory Secretariat, Kofi Addo, said international trade has been distorted and that this was the time to support the private sector to grow.
He commended the private sector for leading the production of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the country since the outbreak of COVID-19 and urged the beneficiaries to utilise the funds to develop their business.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR