The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), managers of the Government of Ghana stimulus package – Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) Business Support Scheme– has extended the deadline for applications from June 20-June, 26, 2020.
The decision, taken in consultation with the CAP BuSS steering committee, comes in the wake of varied concerns raised by some trade and business associations asking for more time to enable some of their members, who had specific challenges and were yet to submit their applications, to do so.
Mrs. Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, the Executive Director of NBSSI speaking at a media briefing hosted by the Board together with other steering committee members of the programme outlined several reasons.
She said: “Together with the CAP BuSS Steering Committee, we had to give all concerns careful thought to arrive at the six-day extension.”
She said the grace period presents an opportunity to rectify complaints and errors of applicants with wrong credentials recorded on the digitized application portal.
“We are currently analysing the data to get a better understanding of the challenges,” Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh added.
Other reasons given for the extension included delayed applications due to challenges encountered in the acquisition of Tax Identification Numbers (TIN).
She said the extension was to give eligible businesses the opportunity to acquire TIN and complete their applications.
The Executive Director said the extension was also an opportunity to mop up paper applications (from cut off communities and rural areas with no internet), for processing onto the digitized system.
As at Thursday, June, 18, over 450,000 applicants, representing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) had registered on the Programme; 75 percent of this number had successfully completed their applications.
The online portal had also detected over 5,200 fraud alerts representing multiple applications with the same mobile money or bank account details.
Applicants who registered via the USSD code (on the various mobile networks) represent 58.8 percent; the remaining 41.2 percent represents registrations done directly on the web portal.
Gender disaggregation for applications constitutes 66 percent females, who requested for 47 percent of the total value of funds requested; and male applications at 34 percent representing 52.6 percent of the total value of funds.
She said to further ensure the grace period was efficiently utilized to achieve its aim, NBSSI has intensified collaboration with the Ghana Revenue Authority to facilitate TIN acquisition for applicants.
Business and Trade Associations have been asked to get extra IT personnel for NBSSI to train them to facilitate data entry for association members onto the digitized system.
NBSSI has deployed additional IT personnel to support applicants with wrong credentials based on specific needs.