CEO, Association of Ghana Industries, Seth Twum-Akwaboah

Chief Executive of the Association of Ghana Industries, Seth Twum-Akwaboah says the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) will make a great difference for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) who have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Twum-Akwaboah, the MSMEs have borne the brunt of government’s efforts to control the spread of the virus following a partial lockdown and the closure of businesses in affected areas, thus “anything small to stimulate their business will help a great deal.”

President Nana Akufo-Addo on Tuesday launched the one billion cedis Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme.

This is a support being provided by government and selected participating banks to micro, small and medium-scale businesses around the country.

Out of the ¢1 billion earmarked for this Programme, ¢600 million will be disbursed as soft loans to MSMEs, with up to a one-year moratorium and a two-year repayment period. The rate of interest on government’s ¢600 million facility is three per cent.

Additionally, selected participating banks will provide negotiated counterpart funding to the tune of ¢400 million, making, in all, one billion cedis for disbursement under this Business Support Scheme, with the entire scheme set to attract some 180,000 beneficiaries across the country.

The President added that beneficiaries must be either self-employed, sole proprietors, or engaged in a limited liability, partnership, or joint venture arrangement.

Speaking on NewsNite, Twum-Akwaboah said the relief plan would help business owners with their Working Capital Requirements and enable them get back to business.

“Some of the enterprises are even unable to pay their workers because they don’t have markets, they don’t have the supply so some of the workers are being asked to go home.

“But if you have access to such a facility, it enables you to pay your workers that means it brings people back to ‘life’. But then also raw materials become a challenge, but then you have the facility to buy your raw material so it’s still going to help a great deal,” he said.

He said his outfit is encouraging and assisting members to apply for the soft loans in order to revive the economy, as the terms and conditions for the loan were flexible.

His only concern is the amount of money being disbursed to the enterprises.

“The only concern I have is the quantity of money. It’s not so much if you consider the number of enterprises we have registered in Ghana but what can you do? Government is under pressure because government is not getting enough revenue from the various businesses so there is not much they can do.”