The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has been overwhelmed with fresh applications from businesses seeking opportunity to benefit from the NBSSI and Mastercard Foundation Nkosuo loan scheme.
The Executive Director of NBSSI, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, told the media in Accra that the board had received more than 400,000 applications from interested businesses seeking a total sum of GH¢2 billion.
This, she said, represents 60 per cent oversubscription as the scheme was targeting to share GH¢90 million among 25,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The GH¢90 million fund made available by the Mastercard Foundation, to be disbursed through the NBSSI under the COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh indicated that the investment committee of the NBSSI has held a series of meetings on how to best begin the disbursement of the funds taking into consideration the oversubscription and challenges faced during the disbursement of the first Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP BuSS); the Adom Micro Soft Loans for micro-enterprises.
From experience, she said the deadline for application was not extended.
“For the Nkosuo, we did not extend the deadline; I think we learnt lessons from CAP BuSS not to extend the deadline. So, we stuck with the deadline we had (October 15).
“We had over 400,000 people as well applying for it, they were seeking for GH¢2 billion. We had conversations with the investment committee to start the process of disbursement to support businesses, one of the things we made clear is that, if someone has benefited from past government funding, you cannot benefit from this.
“We want to be able to allow new people to profit; so, we spread the opportunity for more people to benefit from the interventions from NBSSI,” he said.
On disbursement time lines, Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said, “as soon as possible. I think we have learnt our lessons from CAP BuSS, so, we would not be giving strict deadlines.
“We have never had the chance to use a technology platform to serve masses; we have never seen these numbers before; and so, the beauty of this is that, we are leaning from our past experiences,” she added.
The Nkosuo programme will focus on supporting the following MSMEs and start-ups: MSMEs who need assistance to survive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; businesses in growth sectors where the employment of young people, especially young women, are being significantly impacted by business operation disruptions, supply chain challenges, liquidity shortages, declining sales and profits, and business closures.
Also, businesses providing services that have the potential to meet growing demands of communities during and after the pandemic; and businesses which focus on digitisation to support MSMEs are eligible to apply.
The Nkosuo programme complements existing programmes and is completely different from the disbursement process of current government programmes, including the Government of Ghana Coronavirus Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises (Ghana-CARES) Programme, which focuses largely on developing sustainable MSMEs as a critical part of Ghana’s post-COVID-19 recovery strategy.
The programme comes after a successful roll-out of the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP BuSS).
The CAP BuSS is a special fund set up by government to cushion MSMEs from the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact.