COVID-19: NBSSI’s support to SMEs could have been better – GNCCI

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), Mark Badu-Aboagye has expressed that Government’s support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through the National Board Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) could have been better.

According to him, while it was a great initiative, the important issue to note was whether the funding provided to these SMEs was enough to make up for their lost sales during the pandemic.

Speaking in an interview with Samuel Eshun on e.TV Ghana’s Fact Sheet show, he shared: “With the research that we did we realized that the SMEs were losing close to 22,000 Ghana Cedis per annum and the quantum increases as the ties of the business increases. So most of them were not having revenues so to speak to even pump back into their businesses. They were looking for opportunities to at least get something to sustain themselves so the facility from NBSSI came in handy but the issue had to do with how much they received and which industries the support went to.

“If you look at how much they lost in terms of sales and how much was given to them, you will realize that it was very small. Some received as low as 1000 Ghana Cedis and 500 Ghana Cedis. Let’s say if you had lost close to 22,000 Ghana Cedis sales and you are receiving 500 there is no way it was going to resolve the issue”.

Mark Badu-Aboagye however, noted that reliefs such as free water and electricity that the Government introduced, in a way, supported these SMEs because “money that you would have used to pay for all those things Government has in a way taken up that bit of it”.

“The monies could have been increased or the support could have been increased so that the businesses will be able to sustain themselves and also move forward beyond the period that we have”, he added.

He cited that the Bank of Ghana played a pivotal role in supporting these SMEs when it “reduced its policy rate from 15.5 to 14.5 which resulted in somehow a reduction in the interest rate”.

On September, 16th, 2020, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industries, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, launched the Nkosuo program, a partnership between the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The GH¢90 million funds made available by the MasterCard Foundation, was set to provide financial assistance, in the form of grants and soft loans, via participating institutions, including banks, fintechs, mobile lenders, NGOs, and Business Development Services.

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