GHc600m COVID-19 loan disbursement to commence in May

The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has begun documentation for the disbursement of the GHc600 million soft-loan scheme pledged by government to alleviate negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on small scale businesses across Ghana.

The NBSSI, has set April ending for the commencement of payment of the GHc600 million stimulus package along with a GHc90million MasterCard programme also being readied to come onstream. That means access to the loan will fully be operational from May and beyond.

The loan, which comes with one-year moratorium and two-year repayment period, is expected to ease some of the burden on the operations of micro, small and medium sized businesses.

The loan scheme and MasterCard’s programme – NBSSI MasterCard Foundation Recovery and Resilience Programme for MSMEs – according to NBSSI’s Executive Director, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, will benefit over 60,000 businesses.

The support, she explains, will benefit SMEs that provide essential products and services toward the fight against the deadly virus which has led to a global economic lockdown.

Prospective applicants according to NBSSI must be duly registered, in addition to having Tax Identification Numbers (TIN), among other eligibility criteria.

To ensure transparency and that only deserving businesses benefit from the support, an online application platform is being built and indeed is now near completion.

A committee comprising private sector players and various business associations has also been set up to review, assess and identify the needs of all applicants.

The maximum amount a business can receive under government’s stimulus package, according to the Executive Director, will be determined after assessment by the committee. “We are looking at kick-starting the schemes by the end of this month. We just want to put in place structures to ensure that only deserving SMEs benefit from the support,” she said.

Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh further revealed that her outfit is also engaging other donor partners, governments and agencies to get more support to cushion MSMEs against the crisis.