To ensure that the COVID-19 stimulus package for businesses reaches the four corners of the country, Rural and Community Banks would be part of the channels to be used in the distribution of funds, in addition to the EXIM Bank and other commercial banks, Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso, President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), has said.
“We want to use Ghana EXIM Bank, commercial banks, and Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) to disburse the funds. We also want to ensure that businesses are given free or less interest rates because of the challenges the economy has gone through and the pain business has seen,” Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso said.
But the B&FT has gathered that without Tax Identification Numbers (TINs), and or, association with trade groups, businesses cannot qualify for any form of package.
The criteria and modalities for identifying the beneficiaries are being developed by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) in conjunction with the rural and community banks, commercial banks, and the Ghana Exim Bank.
A steering committee, chaired by both the Ministers of Finance and Trade and Industry, is wrapping up its work to ensure the effective implementation, execution, and disbursement of funds under the stimulus package, which is set to begin next week.
“We are in bed with them [Ministry of Finance] and through the Ministry of Trade we have come out with some modalities and latest by the first week of May we will be able to come out with all the modalities,” Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso added.
The COVID-19 stimulus package is a GH¢600 million soft loan scheme to be disbursed to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The loan is expected to have a one-year moratorium and a two-year repayment plan. It was announced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Trade unions want more support some trade unions, including the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), have made calls for the government to help the private sector to foot a portion of their salaries as a means to sustain their businesses and continue to keep employees in jobs.
Its General Secretary, Solomon Kotei believes that this is the time government must show the private sector what it means when it says ‘the private sector is the engine of growth’
But Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso I, has said that there has been no conversation for the private sector to get salary payment relief from the government. “For now, we have not had that conversation at our meeting. Maybe at the latter part of the meeting, we will bring it up.
He added that the government employs just about 6 percent of the workforce of the nation. It is therefore pertinent that the private sector is supported in these difficult times. He believes a strong private sector will help to support economic growth and relief the government of the current huge unemployment burden.
Source: Business & Financial Times