Ghana Gov’t Sets Aside USD173 Million as Covid-19 Business Support Programme

Ghanaian President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has launched a GHS1 billion (USD173 million) Coronavirus alleviation business support scheme to support micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.

During the launch of the programme at the Jubilee House, the President noted that MSMEs, which account for 70% of Ghana's gross domestic product (GDP) were among the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, hence they needed special consideration.

“This amply highlights the important roles MSMEs play in the growth and development of our economy, necessitating special attention from the government,” President Akufo-Addo said. He added that the intervention programme, which he had since directed the Minister of Finance to send to Parliament for approval,  aims to protect households and livelihoods, minimize job losses, and source additional funding for promotion of industries to shore up and expand industrial output for domestic consumption and exports.

The President also indicated that the business support scheme was open to MSMEs of both the formal and informal sectors, and specific beneficiary sectors include agriculture and agro businesses; manufacturing; water and sanitation; tourism and hospitality, education, food and beverages; technology; transportation, commerce and trade, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and textiles and garments.

He indicated that GHS600 (USD103.6 million) million out of the allocated amount is to be expended as soft loans to MSMEs, with up to a year moratorium and a two-year repayment period, at a three percent interest rate.

“A total of ninety-nine (99) employees is the limit of employment for any qualifying enterprise”, he stated.

The funds under the scheme will be managed by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), and will be overseen by a loans committee, comprising one representative each of the ministries of Finance, Trade and Industry, the NBSSI and participating banks, with international audit firm KPMG as technical advisor.