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Business News of Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Source: GNA

Akufo-Addo launches one billion-cedi stimulus package for SME's

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched a One billion Ghana Cedi stimulus package to provide relief to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), hard-hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 Alleviation Programme (CAP) Business Support Scheme, to be administered by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) is to help lessen the effects of the economic crisis, like no other, caused by the pandemic.

It would provide additional capital for business expansion to meet the demand for respiratory illness-related goods and services.

At a ceremony at the Jubilee House, President Akufo-Addo said the flu-like virus had exacted a huge toll on world economies, including that of Ghana - reduced productivity, job losses and steep decline of revenue for government, businesses, households and individuals.

The MSMEs, which account for 70 per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product and represent 92 per cent of businesses are among the hardest hit, and therefore the need to be given special attention by the government.

The President said the business support programme was an integral part of the resilience and recovery plan being put in place to ensure the renewal of economic activity and sustenance of livelihoods.

"We are determined to protect as many jobs as possible and to help as many businesses as possible get back on their feet."

Out of the amount earmarked for the scheme, GH¢600 million would be disbursed as loans to MSMEs with a one-year moratorium and a two-year payment period with three per cent interest.

Additionally, selected banks that would participate in the programme would provide a negotiated counterpart funding to the tune of GH¢400 million to be disbursed under the scheme.

President Akufo-Addo expressed optimism that the scheme would help the nation's economy to get back on track.

He gave the assurance that, "transparency and accountability will be the hallmark of the operation of the scheme”.

"I am passionate about the scheme working. Government is investing a lot in it, and I am confident that the proper application of these funds will help our nation bounce back stronger and better than before.

“This whole scheme is meant to engender compassion and hope, the pillars on which we build a post-COVID-19 Ghana.”

He urged persons and businesses who accessed the facility to utilise the funds for the intended purpose "so that together, we can work to grow our economy once again".

The programme, targeted at MSME'S in both the formal and informal sectors, is expected to attract over 180,000 beneficiaries.

The allocation of the funds would be supervised by a Loans Committee composed of one representative each from the Ministries of Trade and Industry and Finance, the NBSSI, and the participating banks, with the KPMG acting as the technical advisors to the scheme.

The scheme is targeting businesses in the Food and beverages, technology, transportation, commerce, trade, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, textiles and garments sectors.

Beneficiaries must either be self-employed, sole proprietors or engaged in limited liability partnership or venture arrangements.

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