The Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNACOPS) has disclosed that over 6,000 private schools have applied for the government’s stimulus package.
“We have received over 6,000 applications from schools whose desire is to access part of the Government’s stimulus package/financial support and it is within our mandate to probe further to ascertain the authenticity of provided information presented to the Council so that Government will be in a good position to approve every school that meets the requirements of a school in good standing,” the Director of International Relations/Business Corporation of the Council, Mr. Steve Revss said in a statement posted on the council’s social media page.
Mr. Revss emphasized that “government is ready to support schools in this trying times but there is a need also, to position ourselves as recognised private educational institutions and reliable stakeholders in order to benefit from the national cake.”
The council which has published the names of the schools in question said the list covers those who have successfully submitted their information through the council’s portal and have met the necessary requirements such as TIN numbers, company registration details, GPS location, bank details among others.
He assured the private schools and Government that since the NBSSI has opened its doors for companies to apply for part of the 600 million government stimulus package, the council has also put in more pragmatic measures by meticulously verifying all submitted information at its disposal to ensure that the collective data that would be submitted finally to the Government through the NBSSI would be correct and without blemish.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on April 5, announced a soft loan scheme of up to GH¢600 million for SMEs to cushion such firms affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) subsequently developed an online portal to enable small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) across the country access the GH¢600 million stimulus package for businesses.
Making reference to the council’s dealings with its external partners, donors and International Agencies, he said they are also ready to come to the aid of private schools.
Mr Revss disclosed that there are ongoing discussions with many of these organisations.
“Negotiations are far advanced and the Council is confident and quite hopeful that sufficient financial grants would be brought in to ease the burden of private schools.”
The Director of International Relations/Business Cooperation of GNACOPS advised the entire private school stakeholders to frequently use the portal created for them to reach out to the Council and also inform all those who have not yet filled and submitted their information to do so immediately to avoid being late and subsequently disqualified.
On Sunday, March 15, 2020, in a televised address the President ordered the closure of all educational institutions with effect from Monday, March 16, 2020, following the confirmation of two coronavirus infected persons in the country.
“All universities, Senior High Schools and Basic Schools, i.e. public and private, will be closed from Monday, March 16 until further notice,” the President said.
The Ghana National Association of Private Schools in a statement opened up about the difficulties its members were facing due to the closure of schools by the government following the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to the association “Should this pandemic persist a few more months, many of our schools will collapse. Today, many private school proprietors have sleepless nights thanks to the clamour of our unpaid staff for their salaries which blends with threats of prosecution from banks, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to which school owners are indebted.”
It also called on the government to extend portions of the interest-free loans to the private schools to help them keep their institution running and also be able to pay their staff.
“Government must consider extending some interest-free loans to private schools to pay their staff and keep the institutions running until schools reopen. The loans could be repaid over a period of time when schools reopen. We also welcome the government’s intervention to persuade SSNIT, GRA and banks to which private schools are indebted, to postpone repayment of these statutory obligations and debts until our businesses reopen. We believe this is not too much to ask of Government.”