Following the announcement by the National Board for Small-Scale Industries (NBSSI) that over 200,000 businesses will benefit from the GH₵600 million stimulus package, many groups in the Small and Medium-Scale Enterprise (SME) sector as well as some financial expert have described the money as being insufficient.
One of such groups is the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) who described the stimulus package as “grossly inadequate” in a statement issued on Monday, May 11, 2020.
GUTA’s description is based on an estimation that each beneficiary SME will receive about GH₵3,000, that is if the GH₵600 million is divided by the 200,000 expected beneficiaries.
But the Executive Director of the NBSSI, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, in an interview on 3FM’s ‘Sunrise’ programme on Thursday, May 14, 2020, said Ghana’s stimulus package is intended to give hope to SMEs and that they will do just what.
“There will never be enough money for anything, but I think the GH₵600 million stimulus package is a great start”, she said.
“We cannot just say because the government has allocated GH₵600 million everything goes to one segment and so we will look at the numbers and allocate the funds to suit them. Not everybody will get it but at most we will try to make sure that most beneficiaries get it”, he said.
This notwithstanding, Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said the NBSSI has more than the GH₵600 million to support businesses and ensure that the ordinary Ghanaian is touched along the process.
She disclosed that the NBSSI has worked with the Ministry of Finance and some of its partners to raise additional funds to provide emergency support amid the fight against Covid-19.
“We have more than the GH₵600 million to support the intervention…some partners such as the Mastercard Foundation have also given us GH₵90 million to add on as well. There are other partners that we are working with as well and very soon we will also share what we have”, she explained.
Selections will be representative of SME sector
Last week, during the Ministry of Information organized Covid-19 press briefing, the Executive Director of the NBSSI said her outfit will select the beneficiary companies from the three categories of the micro, small and medium enterprises in Ghana.
She explains that statistics on the SMEs sector of the country shows that 80 percent of the populations are into the micro sector, 15 percent in the small-scale sector while 1.5 percent are in the medium enterprises.
In view of this, Mrs Yankey-Ayeh says their analysis of the statistics indicated that about 200,000 businesses will benefit from the stimulus package, “considering the fact that the micro businesses make up a huge chunk of the population”
“So, we’ve divided it up in a way that it is representative of the population of the entire sector”, the NBSSI rep added.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh in the said 3FM interview defined what an SME is, under the modalities being developed for the disbursement.
She said Small-scale businesses are those with between six to twenty-nine employees, while micro busineses should have between one to five workers.
The medium scale enterprises, she further defined, should be a company with workforce of between 30 to 99 employees.
To qualify for selection, she explained that a beneficiary company must be a business that has been operating in Ghana from March 2020.
Again, she explained those business must either be negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic or producing good and items that support the fight against the pandemic.
She further added that no business has been selected for the disbursement, adding that the modalities that is being developed is almost ready.
She again added that they will soon outdoor a portal where interested SMEs can log on to submit their applications for the disbursement.
By Salifu B.B. Moro