The Executive Director of the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Kosi Yankeh Ayeh has given comprehensive guidelines regarding the registrations, accessibility and disbursement models of the allotted GHC 1 billion stimulus packages to alleviate the plight of struggling businesses amid COVID-19.
In giving a general overview of how the process has been she explains that her outfit maintains routine checks on applications, accumulations of regions and gender balance, and has gathered a broader sense of what the data is all about. She stated that,
“ it’s been an interesting few days trying to operationalize what the president announced in the past few weeks I think we’ve heard a lot, we’ve seen a lot, interesting times and I hope it gets better as we go along”.
Communication and transparency
Meanwhile, despite misgivings about the level of transparency of the whole process of registration and qualifications for the fund, her office remains resolute in delivering the best to the public by asserting that,
“ it is important to realize that there is a process and I think one of the most important things for us at NBSSI and my management team, and all those supporting us is to communicate as often and I think that for the first time in a long time, the board has communicated very far and wide. Because I realized that, one of the hardest things for people are they don’t hear what you’re doing, there’s a lot of assumptions that are made and so as much as possible our goal is to communicate the process, communicate where we are, communicate what is going on to get people on the same page… to make the process transparent I try as much as possible to use technology so that people realize that there is a process”.
Registrations processes and reach
Mrs. Ayeh explained the various components and medium of registration as it can be undertaken via online through the USSD application with the code *718*555#, which generates a unique reference code and directs applicants to go through the next phase. The other process requires applicants going on the board’s website to go through the two-step process,
“so you start the process that allows us to classify you if you’re a micro, a small, a medium, a large enterprise, then from there it moves you through the application process…so you seamlessly go through then at the end of it you get a message that says you’ve been successful”. There are also manual processes to cater for those who do not have the means of accessing the USSD or online platforms.
Also, she explained that the population size and apt demarcation determined the equitable distribution of the fund to those who qualified and “one of the most important things for us has been the reach, so in the development of the program to operationalize it, we took into consideration of the population and the breakdown of the Ghanaian population…
“I think that the regional equity is important because yes, the stimulus package is geared towards coronavirus alleviation program but you realize that a lot of regions and a lot of places were also impacted by it… we are seeing real-time how the applications are coming in as well”.
Who benefits from the fund?
On the issue of who’s eligible to apply, she didn’t mince words as she categorically iterated,
“we’ve been quite clear on those who can apply and those who cannot apply and release of funds as well… there were two segments, we had to first of all look at businesses that have been negatively influenced by the pandemic, which is almost every business, then we have the second one which are businesses that were making goods, providing services and supports that fights against COVID-19… so we are looking at the micro, small, medium enterprises within these segments”.
Rollout schedule for fund disbursement
As many applicants are concerned about the means of getting these funds, she explains that disbursement processes are being expedited and will come via the phone through mobile money messages (encouraged applicants to give apt phone information with the registered name to avert discrepancies) and also financial institutions, with disbursement starting by the end of the month.
“We have one person registering for twenty people with the same account…and others who use MOMO account for five people…through the screening process we will also make sure your name matches your MOMO number”
Mrs. Ayeh stated that stimulus packages doled out to these applicants carry an interest rate of 3% with a one-year moratorium. Currently over 100,000 registered businesses have successfully applied with the closing date for all registrations slated for 20th June, 2020.