The National Board for Small Scale Industries has today, Wednesday, May, 20, 2020 started receiving applications for the disbursement and utilisation of the GHS600 million soft loan scheme for micro, small and medium scale businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We opened the system for applications effective today” the NBSSI Executive Director, Kosi Yankey Ayeh, reiterated in an interview on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.5 Fm.
She however dismissed claims that about 200,000 applicants had already signed up to access the soft loan scheme.
“Its not true. We coudn’t have rolled out ahead of the President’s launch of the facility. Nobody has subscribed yet,” she said.
This comes on the back of accusations by the Ghana Union of Traders Association claiming that the NBSSI has hijacked the utilisation of the fund meant for businesses in the country.
“We won’t sit aloof for the NBSSI to do things anyhow. We need broader consultations on the GHS600 million soft loan scheme. How did they come by the estimated 200,000 people? because GUTA has not presented any list yet. If the President has made it clear that the facility is to support Traders, then we will make sure we fight for our members so that it won’t be business as usual” GUTA President, Dr. Joseph Obeng told Kasapa 102.5 FM Monday.
However, Madam Ayeh, has assured of transparency and the non-partisan disbursement of funds.
Highlighting on the details and processing of the loans, she stated that they have adopted credit scoring model that will guide the process and ensure that it disburses funds to the right people who need it.
A benchmark for eligibility has been set by the Ministry of Trade and Industry relative to the number of employees for small, micro and medium enterprises.
“If you’re a small, micro or medium enterprise you are entitled to apply and you’re eligible. The micro-enterprise using the definition of an employee which has been set by the Ministry of Trade and Industry is about 1 to 5 employees; small enterprise is from 6 to 29 employees and medium enterprises with 30 to 99 employees.”
She observed that out of the six hundred million (600 million) earmarked by government to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and a further four hundred million (400 million) from the commercial banks, MSMEs have a window of opportunity to access soft loans at a 5% interest rate with a one year moratorium and a repayment period of two (2) to three (3) years.
Madam Yankey-Ayeh, indicated that Applicants, can register via phone, text, online, and paper application. Applications she said, will be received on a central portal, where applicants will receive a message via text or email specifying their unique reference code, a url and the next steps they ought to take. With the reference code, they will be able to go through the application process.
The technology platform will pass on the data gathered to the financial institutions/telcos and subsequently they will assess the applications and issue a recommendation. Once the recommendation is approved, funds will be disbursed directly to successful applicants. She indicated that disbursements to successful applicants will be made via Mobile Money Transfer or Direct payment into the bank accounts of applicants.