The President of the Ghana Hotels Association, Dr. Edward Ackah-Nyamike Jnr. has urged the Ministry of Finance to expedite the process on how government intends to augment their businesses in the upcoming mid-Year budget review following the adverse impact of the pandemic on their businesses.
Dr. Ackah-Nyamike Jnr. in an interview said a meeting with President Akufo-Addo along with other stakeholders in the hospitality industry afforded them the leeway to express their concerns on their exclusion from GHS1 billion cedis stimulus package being disbursed by the National Board for Small Scale Mining because their staff strength exceeds 95.
He said despite applications made by members for the 9 million dollar World Bank grant and the GH1 billion NBSSI disbursement of which they are supposed to benefit from, his members have not received support from any of the funds even though they have applied.
“We haven’t had any clear feedback on when that money is coming, how it will be sourced and how it will be disbursed. I want to see a statement or a line about that three billion cedis as the Finance Minister is going to read the mid-year budget. I must also say that time is of the essence and if the support does not come early, it will end up destroying a lot of businesses. So, we urge government to ensure that these interventions come in at the right time so that the industry players will benefit from it.”
Government has set aside various financial packages to aid players in the hospitality industry just like other sectors, however, the size and operations of some of the hospitality sector players, means that they do not qualify for packages targeted at SMEs.
Despite assurances from the presidency that such businesses will be re-categorized under a 3 billion cedis stimulus package they are yet to receive clear communication on when the funds will be disbursed.
The Ghana Hotel Association’s president said, “Every intervention is worthwhile in such situations. Of course, we appreciate the Ministry’s announcement of the 9-million-dollar grant to the industry. However, I need to point out that, I am yet to get feedback from our members about the NBSSI disbursement, even though they have applied. It has been about four weeks and we thought it will come early enough. We are also four months into the pandemic. We will urge the Ministry to fast forward the process so that the beneficiaries can get value for money”.
NBSSI stimulus package disbursement
On June 24, 2020, the National Board and Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) began the disbursement of GHȼ1 million to 1,000 applicants under the first tranche of the GH¢1 billion Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) business support scheme.
Beneficiaries of the stimulus packages included food sellers, hairdressers, and tailors, among others. The criteria for being categorized as a beneficiary was a tall order designed by the NBSSI to thoroughly sift out fraudulent applicants. The beneficiaries received an average of 1,000 via mobile money under what is known as the Adom Micro Soft Loans, for micro-enterprises.
The special fund is categorized into Anidaso and Adom special loans, with an interest rate of three per cent, payable within two years after a moratorium of one year.