The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has developed an online portal to enable small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) across the country access the GH¢600 million stimulus package for businesses.
Executive Director of NBSSI, Esi Kosi Antwiwaa Yankey, said the portal was to ensure transparency and efficiency in disbursement of the package to applicants.
Speaking at a press briefing in Accra yesterday, she explained that the Board was in discussions with concerned stakeholders to come up with eligibility criteria to ensure that viable businesses which were in need were supported.
She stated that more than 200,000 businesses would be supported under the coronavirus (COVID-19) stimulus package for SMEs adding that the NBSSI was further engaging traders and business owners to sensitise them on the package and how they could access it.
Applications from businesses, Madam Yankey noted, would be processed through the portal, which was yet to be launched.
To ensure all businesses have equal access to the package, the NBSSI has established a dedicated office to help applicants who are unable to apply through the online portal, she added.
She said test runs were currently being undertaken on the portal to assess its capacity and suitability for the exercise.
The NBSSI, the Executive Director said, has engaged the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to expedite development of standards to enable SMEs produce goods to meet current demand.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on April 5, announced a soft loan scheme of up to GH¢600 million for SMEs, which would sustain the country's affected industries and address the disruption in economic activities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Government, in collaboration with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Business and Trade Associations and selected commercial and rural banks, will roll out a soft loan scheme up to a total of GH¢600 million, which will have a one-year moratorium and two-year repayment period for micro, small and medium scale businesses," he stated.
In view of the impact of the disease on Ghana's economy, which is expected to cost in excess of GH¢9 billion, the government set aside a stimulus package of GH¢1 billion for industry.
Additionally, the government established a COVID-19 National Trust Fund to receive donations for disbursement to individuals who have been negatively impacted by the disease.
So far, Ghana has recorded 3,091 confirmed cases of the disease with 303 recoveries and 18 deaths.