The Ministry of Trade and Industry has charged the National board for Small Scale Industry (NBSSI) to be objective in disbursing the Nkosuo soft loan.
Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Robert Akomka-Lindsay said this at the Launch of the Nkosuo loan program, a partnership between the NBSSI and the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program to support MSMEs.
Speaking at the launch of the Nkosuo program, Deputy Minister for trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay reiterated government’s commitment to help alleviate the plight of small businesses while advising the NBSSI to be fair in its disbursement process.
“Disburse these funds without fear or favour. Let us focus on the need of all Ghanaians. I know we are in the season where everything is very hot but I can assure you when you see the impact that GHS500 or GHS1,000 can do to somebody who has to buy plantain or yam to fry it or GHS2,000 to go and buy another equipment for a seamstress then you’d know the true impact and potential of this fund,” he said.
The Nkosuo loan was announced by the Finance Minister during his Midyear budget presentation as part of plans to help businesses find their feet after the emergence of COVID-19 crippled most of them.
With an initial commitment of GHS 90 million from the Mastercard Foundation, the Nkosuo program will provide financial assistance in the form of grants and soft loans via participating institutions including banks, fintechs, mobile lenders, NGOs, and Business Development Services.
On her part, The Executive Director of the NBSSI, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh said with the use of technology the board, would be able to deliver its mandate smoothly.
“It’s always important for us to use technology because the technology allows us to put together all the applications and all the forms on one platform and make a very wise decision based on that. In most cases our application does not put a name or a face to the applications, so it makes it easier. So, we’re going to really utilize our technology platforms and ensure that at the end of the day, the beneficiaries who deserve to qualify get the funding,” she explained.
She added that the portal for application would be opened to the public on 17th September, a day after the launch to allow for applicants to begin the process.
The Nkosuo program complements existing programs targeting the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
According to the NBSSI, this is completely different from current government programs including the Government of Ghana Coronavirus Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprises (Ghana-CARES) Program which focuses largely on developing sustainable MSMEs as a critical part of Ghana’s post COVID-19 recovery strategy.
The program will also give a one-year moratorium and a two-year repayment period and it will focus on supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, (MSMEs) and start-ups in sectors such as Agriculture and Agro-businesses, Water and Sanitation, Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals, Trade and commerce among others. Twenty-five thousand MSMEs are expected to benefit from the program.
How to apply
To ensure accessibility and transparency of the registration and application process, NBSSI has made available an online application portal: www.nbssi.gov.gh/recoveryprogram for applications, starting 17th September, 2020.
Applicants can also call the Call Centre Helpline: 0302747777 or contact the nearest NBSSI Business Advisory Centre (BAC) within their district across the country.
About the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program
The Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program has two main goals. First, to deliver emergency support for health workers, first responders, and students. Second, to strengthen the diverse institutions that are the first line of defense against the social and economic aftermath of this disease. These include universities, financial services providers, businesses, technology start-ups, incubators, government agencies, youth organizations, and non-governmental organizations.