The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) in collaboration with the MasterCard Foundation on Wednesday September 16, 2020 launched the COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) dubbed the “Nkosuo” Program.
The program which is a GHS 90 million injection into the sector is a collaboration between the Government of Ghana and the MasterCard Foundation to strengthen small businesses against the adverse effect of the coronavirus.
Speaking at the launch of the Program, the Executive Director of the NBSSI, Kosi Yankey Ayeh emphasized the need to support MSMEs in the country.
She said because of the critical role and space MSMEs occupy in the economy and the resultant effect of the novel coronavirus on the finances of small businesses, there is the need to cushion them to make them viable and competitive.
“While we appreciate the scarcity and the limit we have with resources, the NBSSI representing the Government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry reached out to our friends and development partners to complement the efforts of the Government of Ghana in assisting MSMEs. Thankfully MasterCard Foundation responded positively to our proposal with an amount of GHC 90 million to also support our MSMEs under a program dubbed the “Nkosuo” program.
“The objective of this fund is to provide support to our MSMEs and urge them on from resilience to progress hence the name NKOSUO. This program with Mastercard Foundation marks the beginning of a NEW ERA for MSMEs in Ghana: an era that opens its doors to development partners for new, innovative and strategic partnerships as this one with Mastercard Foundation,” she said.
The Executive Director said already, online portals had been created to ensure easy accessibility to the registration and application forms, and encouraged prospective applicants to visit the online platform of the NBSSI or contact the nearest NBBSI Business Advisory Centre (BAC) within their districts across the country for help if need be.
The Lead for Youth Engagement for the foundation, expressed the foundation’s delight in supplementing government efforts in mitigating the immediate shocks of the pandemic on businesses in the country. She said her outfit will continue to partner with government to extend financial services and business advisory services to small businesses since they are the backbone of the economy.
Highlighting the role of partnerships and collaboration in the transformation of the country’s economy, the guest speaker and Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry Robert Ahomka-Lindsay stressed the need for cooperation between government and relevant stakeholders in the industry to further ease the economic hardship on small businesses.
The program has a one-year moratorium and a two-year repayment period and focuses on supporting MSMEs and start-ups in sectors such as Agriculture and Agro-businesses, Water and Sanitation, Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals, Trade and commerce, Garment and Personal Protective Equipment, the Creative Arts Industry, Manufacturing, Food and Beverage among others.