About 25,000 micro small medium enterprises (MSMEs) have been earmarked to receive financial assistance to support their businesses following the launch of the COVID-19 and Resilience Programme in Accra yesterday.
Dubbed: ‘The Nkosuo Support’ the programme is a collaboration between the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and the MasterCard Foundation, and it aims to strengthen businesses in the MSME sector that is adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In all about 90 million Ghana cedis will be disbursed in grants and loans to MSMEs in agriculture and agro-businesses, water and sanitation, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, trade and commerce, garment and personal protective equipment, the creative arts industry, manufacturing, food and beverage among others.
Launching it, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Robert Ahomka Lindsey said the importance of MSMEs to the country’s economy could not be overemphasised, as a result, it was important to support them to grow.
He said nearly 80 per cent of Ghana’s population were employed in the MSMEs sector and government would continue to support it to grow.
Mr Lindsey said so far government had given out about 750million Ghana cedis to be disbursed for businesses under the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) and would continue to support the sector to grow.
He stressed the need for cooperation between government and relevant stakeholders in the industry to further ease the economic hardship on small businesses.
The Executive Director of the NBSSI, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh on her part emphasised the need to support MSMEs in the country.
She said due to the critical role and space MSMEs occupied in the economy and the resultant effect of the novel coronavirus on the finances of small businesses, there was the need to cushion them to make them viable and competitive.
“While we appreciate the scarcity and the limits we have with resources, the NBSSI representing the government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry reached out to our friends and development partners to complement the efforts of the Government of Ghana in assisting MSMEs. Thankfully MasterCard Foundation responded positively to our proposal with an amount of GHS 90 million to support our MSMEs under a programme dubbed the Nkosuo.”
The objective of this fund is to provide support to our MSMEs and urge them on from resilience to progress hence the name NKOSUO. This programme with Mastercard Foundation marks the beginning of a new era for MSMEs in Ghana: an era that opens its doors to development partners for new, innovative and strategic partnerships as this one with Mastercard Foundation,” she said.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said that an online portal had been created to ensure easy accessibility to the registration and application forms and encouraged prospective applicants to visit the online platform of the NBSSI or contact the nearest NBSSI Business Advisory Centre (BAC) within their districts and regional offices across the country for help if need be.
She explained that the programme had a one-year moratorium and a two-year repayment period and focused on supporting MSMEs and start-ups in sectors.
BY CLIFF EKUFUL