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200,000 Ghanaian Businesses to Receive Government Bailout

The government of Ghana quest to ease the pain of small businesses from the devastating consequences of the novel coronavirus is expected to reach at least 200,000 companies, the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has disclosed.

Ghana's Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta in March announced that as part of the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP), an amount of GH¢600m is to be given to businesses to provide relief in these difficult times.

Speaking at a Ministry of Information press conference to provide an update on Ghana’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, Kosi Yankey, Executive Director at NBSSI, said modalities for the disbursement of the funds are being worked on to ensure fair and equitable distribution.

“To ensure the success, efficiency and transparency of the programme, an online portal has been developed to be approved by the board of directors and will be stress-tested by independent consultants to ensure that all implementation challenges are minimised and tested.

We will also create the opportunity for those who are not technology-savvy or have limited access in remote districts to have access to partake in the business support scheme. We believe that we are in the position to operational[ise] the service soon. We also will be communicating to the general public as of today to get them ready,” Kosi Yankey stated.

According to figures from the Ghana Statistical Service, micro enterprises constitute about 80 percent of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, while small businesses constitute 15 percent and medium enterprises one percent.

The CAP Business Support Scheme is expected to reach over 200,000 MSMEs in total, most of them in the dominant micro enterprise category.

Ms. Yankey said over the past few weeks, the NBSSI has had extensive engagements with multiple stakeholders, such as financial institutions, business associations, trade groups, service providers, and consultants, to ensure that there is agreement on the products that the business scheme will roll out to achieve a common goal.

“We have been supported by our board and the Ministry of Finance and their team to ensure that we work assiduously to implement the project to [benefit] all qualifying entities.”

The Parliament of Ghana last month granted approval for the Finance Minister to fund the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme with an amount of GH¢1.2bn.

The main objective of the CAP is to protect households and livelihoods; support micro, small and medium-sized businesses; minimise job losses; and provide additional funding for promotion of industries.

The funds for the CAP were drawn from the Ghana Stabilisation Fund, the portion of Ghana’s oil revenue set aside to cushion the economy from lower-than-expected crude prices.

The amount comprised GH¢600m to support businesses, GH¢280m for the provision of food, water and sanitation services to households, and the remainder to fund benefits for frontline health workers.

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