President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is confident the GH₵600m fund set aside for small and medium-sized businesses affected by the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus pandemic would help resuscitate the ailing economy.
The fund, to be administered by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), is part of the GH₵1.2bn Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) which the government introduced in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
According to Akufo-Addo, the fund will be complemented by an additional syndicated GH₵400m loan facility from commercial banks to support economic recovery plans.
“I am confident that the proper application of these funds will help our nation bounce back stronger and better than before,” the President added.
Commenting on the terms of the facility, the President revealed that the GH¢600m will be disbursed as soft loans to the businesses, with up to a one-year grace period and a two-year repayment period.
Businesses that are successful in tapping the fund will be expected to pay up to three percent as interest.
“Additionally, selected participating banks will provide negotiated counterpart funding to the tune of GH¢400m, making, in all, GH¢1bn for disbursement under this Business Support Scheme, with the entire scheme set to attract some 180,000 beneficiaries across the country,” the President said at the launch.
The fund disbursement will be done through selected participating banks.
The President noted that while the scheme is targeted at businesses affected by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, businesses in growth sectors that require additional capital to expand and meet growing demand for COVID-19-related goods and services are also eligible to apply.
Some of the sectors the scheme is expected to benefit include agriculture and agro-businesses; manufacturing; water and sanitation; tourism and hospitality; education; food and beverages; technology; transportation; commerce and trade; healthcare and pharmaceuticals; and textiles and garments.
To be eligible for the scheme, beneficiaries are expected to be either self-employed, sole proprietors, or engaged in a limited liability, partnership, or joint-venture arrangement.
“A total of 99 employees is the limit of employment for any qualifying enterprise. The qualifying enterprise will be encouraged to belong to a trade association or group, and be registered with NBSSI. The application process starts tomorrow, 20th May, and ends on Saturday, 20th June,” the President said.
Akufo-Addo tasked the businesses that will be successful to use the funds for the intended purpose.
“Together, we can work to grow our economy once again. Smaller enterprises can access funds from the Adom Micro Loans, and larger ones from the Anidasuo Soft Loan. This whole scheme is meant to engender compassion and hope, the pillars upon which we will build a new post-COVID Ghana.”
The NBSSI last week revealed that to ensure a smooth application process for all eligible candidates, application forms have been made available online on the website of NBSSI (www.nbssi.gov.gh) as well as via a USSD code across all mobile networks.