But the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) says their estimates indicates that each business will receive an amount of GH₵3,000.00, on the average.
GUTA’s projection is based on the numbers given by the Executive Director of the NBISS, Madam Yankey, in relation to how many SMEs to benefit from the support, at last Tuesday’s Covid-19 press briefing.
In a statement issued on 10th May , GUTA described the stimulus package as “grossly inadequate”, that is if their estimate is anything to go by.
Consequently, GUTA is demanding modalities for the disbursement to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of the money.
Portions of the statement read “We wish to bring to the attention of the government the fact that the stimulus package as it is being communicated to us is very confusing and not directed to the intended target, threshold, adequacy of the fund and modalities of disbursement.”
“This due to the huge number of people in these sectors, and the varied nature of the operations, as well as the capital need of the members of each group. We expect that each group will be identified and allotted the appropriate amount of the fund,” it added.
GH₵600m stimulus package
President Akuffo-Addo, on Sunday, April 5, 2020, announced a GH₵600m stimulus package to support to micro, small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) as “soft loans scheme”.
This is part of the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) to manage the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This, according to the President, will be done in collaborations with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Business and Trade Associations as well as Rural and Commercial Banks.
The loan, he said, will however have a one-year moratorium and two-year repayment period.
GUTA wants Gov’t to set up a Committee
The package, according to GUTA is well intended. However, its expected outcome may not be realised if government does not come clear on the specific target groups to benefit from the disbursement and the threshold.
In line with this, GUTA has called for the setting up of a committee to discuss issues and address all the concerns surrounding the stimulus package.
“It is important to alert the Government that the announcement of the stimulus package has generated a lot of interest and expectations among greater majority of members of the business community. So Government should consider this fact, engage with us, to think through the entire package. Otherwise, this noble and good intention of the Government can be more of a problem than solution”.
Selections will be representative of SME sector
Speaking at 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 were in the micro sector, 15 percent in the small-scale sector and one percent are in the medium enterprises.
In view of this, Madam Yankey 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.
But Dr Joseph Obeng, the President of GUTA, says “statement of the CEO of NBSSI falls short of the modalities and specific target for the disbursement, as well as the threshold and investment rate involved.”
By Salifu B.B. Moro