Owners of micro-businesses across the country have begun receiving their share of the special fund set up by the government to cushion micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
On Wednesday, the National Board and Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) began the disbursement of GHS1 million to 1,000 applicants under the first tranche of the GHS1 billion Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) business support scheme.
They include food sellers, hairdressers, tailors, among others.
The beneficiaries, who met the rigorous criteria designed by the NBSSI, received up to GHS2,000 via mobile money under what is known as the Adom Micro Soft Loans, for micro-enterprises.
The special fund is categorised into Anidaso and Adom special loans, with an interest rate of three per cent, payable within two years after a moratorium of one year.
The Executive Director of the NBSSI, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, at a press conference in Accra, said the disbursement would be done continuously for the next three weeks.
"Today's disbursement is focused on applicants in the lower micro (Adom Loans) category, whose applications constitute 5.4 per cent of the total value of funds requested by all applicants as of Wednesday, June 24”.
“We are working around the clock and in close collaboration with participating financial institutions (PFIs) to effect disbursement, and will in the coming days increase the numbers per batch disbursement,” she said.
Unlike the Adom special loan for micro-businesses, Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said the Anidaso loan was meant for firms that were larger than the micro-businesses.
The initial disbursement comes five days after the NBSSI announced a six-day extension of the application deadline to allow for MSMEs that were yet to complete their applications to do so.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh explained that the grace period was justified and effective and had given the CAP Team the opportunity to rectify all technical issues including applicants with wrong credentials on the system.
That, she said, was to help mop up all paper applications that were yet to be entered onto the system.
“We now have a good picture and view of information on the application portal and can initiate disbursement.
“During the extension period which ends on Friday, June 26, the NBSSI has intensified collaboration with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to facilitate TIN acquisition for applicants,” the executive director said.
She explained that through the NBSSI’s Business Advisory Centres in 180 districts across the country, the Board had also supported some businesses and trade associations whose members had challenges completing the applications on the digitised application portal.