Just two days after the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) announced the disbursement of a GHS2 million interest-free loan to support the victims of the Odawna market fire, the Centre has begun the distribution of the monies.
With each person receiving GHS2,000 each, MASLOC has pledged to distribute the money to about 1,000 people within a span of one week.
The Director of Operations at the Centre, Dominic Baah-Ayim, speaking to Citi Business News explained that the payment is being done in batches, following particular rules to ensure transparency and equity.
“We are looking up to serving 40 groups equivalent to GHS2 million. Each person is receiving GHS2,000. That is what we hope to disburse within a period of one week depending on the number. What we have realized is that there is duplication. There are certain people that have registered with NBSSI and have also registered with MASLOC. But we are sister institutions with similar mandates, so we are seeing to it that anyone who has applied for MASLOC will not benefit twice,” he stressed.
Some of the traders, who were part of the first batch of beneficiaries told Citi Business News they would use the money judiciously.
Victoria Ametewee, who used to sell provisions at the market said, “No matter what I use the money for, I’ll still get some profit from it. I’ll use the money to start something small till money comes from somewhere else. MASLOC has done really well.”
Philomina Anima, whose refrigerator got consumed by the fire also said she will “buy a fridge, so I can start my business again. The money is not enough, but I’ll use the little I’ve gotten.”
Issues with NBSSI payment
On the other side, the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) which was directed by President Akufo-Addo to make available funds to support the traders, has also begun the disbursement of its share of funds.
However, there seem to be complaints from the traders over unfair payment methods.
NBSSI’s payment is being done digitally unlike that of MASLOC’s.
Some of these traders fumed over their inability to access funds promised them through the NBSSI. Although some have received payment, those yet to receive something alleged that those who have been served were not victims of the fire.
“The money was divided into two. We were told MASLOC will take care of 1,000 people so NBSSI takes care of the remaining. We were told 600 people have been paid by NBSSI, but we doubt that. The remaining 400, which includes us, has not received anything. We expect our leaders to explain things to us,” Abena Oforiwaa lamented.
“Yesterday, we realized that some people were getting alerts from NBSSI that its Odawna relief fund. But those who got the messages are not even people in the market. Some left here five years ago. Those of us who sell in the market have not gotten any money. And we don’t know whether they are playing us. Some see the messages but when they check their accounts, they don’t see any money in the wallet,” Sandra Adjei fumed.
Ernest Appiah also added, “Some people received their money yesterday. But the money has stopped coming. Some also got the message but when they check their wallet, there’s no money in it. We don’t know what is going on. At least, we expect our leaders to come and tell us something, but they are nowhere to be found.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the NBSSI, Kosi Yakey-Ayeh, in response to these claims told Citi Business News payment is still ongoing; and urged the traders to exercise restraint.