A COVID-19 recovery and resilience programme for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), led by the National Board for Small-Scale Industries (NBSSI), in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation, has been launched.
Dubbed: the Nkosuo Programme, the initiative is aimed at supporting formal and informal sector players affected by the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with funds to enable them to survive the turbulence of the pandemic.
Beneficiary businesses will be those owned or managed by the youth, especially females.
At the launch of the programme in Accra yesterday, the Executive Director of the NBSSI, Mrs Kosi Afua Yankey-Ayeh, said under the programme, GH¢90 million would be disbursed to the beneficiaries.
She explained that the programme would target agri and agro-businesses, water and sanitation, health care and pharmaceuticals, garment and producers of personal protective equipment (PPE), creative industries, commerce and trade.
Others are the manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, technology, education, services and food and beverages sectors.
The NBSSI Executive Director said dealers in alcohol, tobacco, weapons, gambling and betting and sex-related industries were not eligible to receive the funds.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said the initiative was meant to deal with the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 on MSMEs through the provision of additional capital to expand their businesses.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has become the biggest disruption to our way of life this year and the initiative by the NBSSI is to make it possible for businesses to bounce back to life,” she added.
She said the negative impact of the pandemic cut across social, cultural, psychological, economic, financial and other aspects of human life, hence the need to introduce such a programme to cushion MSMEs.
In a speech read on her behalf, the Regional Director of MasterCard for West, Central and Northern Africa, Ms Nathalie Akon Gabala, said the COVID-19 had presented an opportunity for countries to engage and collaborate with and partner one another to mitigate the shock of the pandemic, especially on the vulnerable in society.
She observed that among people affected by the pandemic were the youth, particularly women, adding: “The MasterCard Foundation will continue to work consistently with relevant institutions in the 16 regions of the country by providing increased access to funding and financial services in the wake of COVID-19.
“We believe that by enabling access to soft credit and business advisory services to MSMEs, we are building a resilient industry towards economic recovery, post-COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Gabala said.