Small and Medium Scale Enterprises hoping to benefit from government’s GHS1 billion stimulus package, have one more one week to put in their applications.
The National Board for Small Scale Industries, NBSSI, has extended the deadline for applications for the GHS1 billion Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme by six more days.
The package is aimed at supporting Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The initial deadline of 20th June has been moved to 26th June. Already, over 100,000 businesses have applied for support.
Executive Director of the NBSSI, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, who spoke about the extension said, “This decision was made in consultation with the steering committee and in consultation with our stakeholders who had come to us with various reasons and concerns that they raised with regards to the work that we are doing on the field. The trade and business associations wrote to petition, asking for more time to enable them address the specific challenges that some of their members were going through with their application processes.”
“Some of these challenges were ensuring that they were able to finalize their applications, they were able to collate all the paper applications they had sent to the various districts and rural areas across the length and breadth of the nation, that they had not collected and inputted,” she added.
Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh also says the process has so far faced some network challenges especially in the rural areas; hence the decision to halt payment until the deadline for application elapses.
“It is also important to know that in the first week when we started, some of the Telcos had network difficulties so across the length and breadth, a few people started the registration process and were unable to complete through to the end of the application. With all of this information, we will extend by six extra days, with a hard deadline of the 26th June 2020, which is a Friday.”
Aside from network challenges, Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh told Citi Business News some persons have found fraudulent ways to engage in multiple registrations under different names in order to maximize their chances of accessing the fund, while some others have resorted to taking money from unsuspecting Ghanaians with the promise of securing them a slot.
According to the National Board for Small Scale Industries, the transfer will be done in phases and according to business sizes.
“As soon as possible – and I can guarantee that- the first leg of the disbursement, and in view of making sure that the right processes are put in place, and to ensure that it gets to the right people, we’re looking at a two step system where the ‘Adom’ loans, which is the Micro loans would immediately start being transferred to the beneficiaries. Then from there, in terms of the larger loans that a bit more assessment is required, we shall make those assessments as much as possible,” she emphasized.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many businesses negatively including SMEs.
According to a report by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) these businesses contribute about 70% to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product and account for about 92% of businesses in Ghana.