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Nearly 5,000 MSMEs apply for COVID-19 business support fund

The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has received close to 5,000 applications days after government launched the GH¢1 billion COVID-19 Alleviation Programme (CAP) business support scheme to cushion businesses negatively impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Jointly funded by government and some commercial banks in the country, the scheme which is being managed by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) is expected to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) back onto their feet.

The scheme, which has been grouped into two, namely Adom and Anidaso, will make available funds to smaller enterprises and larger companies respectively.

Speaking at a press briefing in Accra yesterday on government’s interventions against the disease, Executive Director of NBSSI, Esi Kosi Antwiwaa Yankey, said the applicants have been registered and were awaiting the next stage.

She noted that the interest rate was three per cent with a one-year payment moratorium and two to three years payment period.

As at yesterday, she said the Board has received more than 1000 calls from interested businesses on how to access the funds.

She indicated that all the announced platforms for access to the fund including online portal, USSD codes and dedicated office have been activated and could be used by all including persons with disabilities (PWDs).

To be able to provide opportunities for all to receive the financial support, Madam Yankey said the NBSSI has established a grievance centre to address issues and challenges faced by applicants.

“If you are experiencing any difficulty with regards to the application process, please contact the grievance centre and all your issues will be looked at. It is for all MSMEs and so we encourage all to participate to benefit financially,” she added.

To ensure efficient use of the funds, she said, the Board would monitor and train beneficiaries on book keeping skills to digitise their businesses and increase revenue potentials.

She stated that beneficiaries which fail to pay back the funds they receive would be blacklisted from accessing future support from government.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday launched a GH¢1 billion COVID-19 Alleviation Business Support Programme to support MSMEs affected by the 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. 

According to President Akufo-Addo, the business support programme, which is expected to reach 180,000 beneficiaries across the country, will help minimise job losses in the wake of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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