The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) formerly NBSSI has disbursed some GH¢93.5 million to creative arts practitioners and private schools that applied for loans under the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP BuSS).
While a total of GH¢52.3 million was shared to 29,698 beneficiaries within the creative arts industry and 5,410 private schools, universities, and associations received GH¢41.2 million as at the end of June this year.
This was made known in the 2021 Mid-year Budget, presented to Parliament on July 29, this year.
Some creative practitioners and private schools have not been able to generate funds to pay their staff following the closure of schools and cinemas last year due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The development brought financial hardship on practitioners, teachers and other members of staff of the affected firms, for which reason they appealed for a bailout from the government.
In response, the government allocated additional GH¢150 million in the 2020 Mid-Year Budget for specific sectors such as the creative arts, media, and the private universities to enable them continue to offer key services in those uncertain times.
This after setting up the CAP BuSS with a GH¢600 million seed money to cushion MSMEs from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Its key objective is to help protect as many jobs as possible as the COVID-19 rages.
The special fund is categorised into Anidaso and Adom special loans, with an interest rate of three per cent, payable within two years, after a moratorium of one year.
The disbursement of the CAP BuSS fund started in July this year with loans in the Adom Micro category receiving support.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, stated that at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government, noting the economic importance of the MSMEs with regard to life and livelihoods, and rolled out the GH¢600 million CAP BuSS as a financing scheme for MSMEs.
He said the government undertook the initiative in collaboration with Ghana Employers Association (GEA), Business and Trade Associations and selected commercial and rural banks.
Launched on May 16, 2020, he said the initiative, which has a one-year moratorium and two-year repayment period for MSMEs, was intended to establish a comprehensive emergency relief fund package for MSMEs.
“Support MSMEs with access to funds and technical assistance to ameliorate the impact of COVID-19; and support formalisation of the informal sector.
“Mr Speaker, the government through the CAPBuSS did not only provide financial support to entrepreneurs but also the technical know-how in the management of the funds with the aim of enabling MSMEs to survive, sustain jobs and support eventual economic recovery,” he said.
The minister stated that between May 2020 and June 2021 a total amount of GH¢520.1 million had been disbursed to 299,490 beneficiaries, with 31 per cent of them being males and 69 per cent females.
Technical support was also provided in the form of training in entrepreneurship and financial management to 15,748 beneficiaries across Ghana, with about 67 per cent being females.
Over 743,365 jobs have been protected and a database of 914,000 MSMEs has been created to inform policy.