Some persons in the Ashanti Region who have applied for government’s GHS 1billion stimulus package to support SMEs affected by the coronavirus pandemic, are urging government to ensure early release of the funds to help them achieve the desired impact.
The coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted many businesses in the country, with over 14,000 business owners applying for the funds.
According to the National Board for Small Scale Industries, almost all sectors of the economy such as those in agric, education, services, manufacturing and trade among others, have applied for the package.
Some business owners in Kumasi, who say they have been hugely affected by the pandemic, are hopeful the support will help them bounce back.
They however want the monies released on time to achieve the desired impact.
“I for instance, I travel to China to buy goods. Since our borders have been closed from March up to date, we have been surviving on the little money we had until the border closure. This has affected us badly because we have been out of business,” an applicant lamented.
“As fast as possible, if the monies can be released, it will help all us who are in this situation,” one of the applicants appealed.
“As we speak, if the funds could be released for us in a week’s time after applying, we would really appreciate. We would like that because when we are given the support, we can venture into other businesses until the borders are opened for us to engage in our usual businesses. We can start engaging in other businesses such as selling of pepper, tomatoes and mangoes among others,” another applicant stated.
Ashanti Regional Manager of NBSSI, Manu Bashir, in an interview with Citi Business News, said as the body in charge of the application, they will ensure due processes are followed.
“This money is in the kitty and everybody is more or less struggling to have a piece of it so naturally it is like first come first served. We are also into business development and for that matter, we know that business people do not at all times make the right request for the amount they really need. When you submit your particulars, we are experts in the field so when we do our analysis and we see that for instance, you requested for ten thousand Ghana cedis but when we look at your sales turnover and other things, we can reduce the amount”.
“So don’t be expecting to get the amount you requested for because it may happen during the checks that after all you do not really qualify for the amount you have applied for because your other particulars may not support that”.
He however advised applicants to stop massing up at NBSSI offices and rather use their call centres or online platform, to help curtail the spread of COVID-19.
“We have put a lot of numbers in the public domain. As I speak, we have hotlines- 0302747777. You call this and there are a lot of receivers online ready to support you. You can ask your questions in about four or five major languages. There is virtually no need coming to our offices because there is nothing we can do in terms of enhancing your chances of getting the facility. All that they can do is to advise you. We are all aware of the pandemic and the need for us to keep social distance”.
Mr. Manu Bashir says although the package is for persons who were already engaged in business and have been affected by the pandemic, those who have come up with innovations to help fight covid-19 can also apply.