Be Fair, Remove Politics In Disbursing ¢600m To SMEs – GUTA To Akufo-Addo
The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has asked government to distribute the GH¢600 million set aside to support small scale business equally to the beneficiaries on fair grounds devoid of politics.
President Akufo-Addo had earlier announced that GH¢600 million soft loan scheme with a two-year repayment plan had been put in place by the government to support micro, small and medium scale businesses in these difficult times.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Ghana and a partial lockdown on Accra and Kumasi as a result of the disease, most businesses in major economic hubs have been inactive, thereby limiting the income of most citizens.
It is for this reason that the government decided to among other things, support SMEs by giving this money to them.
Thanking the government for the “timely intervention with various stimulus packages to alleviate the devastating effect of the widely spread deadly COVID-19”, GUTA, in a statement asked the government to disburse the said money in a “fair, transparent and equitable manner, devoid of partisan politics”.
Suggesting ways by which that will be done, the Association said that, “we would appeal to the government to include leadership of the trade associations on the committee(s) that will oversee the disbursement of the fund to the rightful beneficiaries.”
“We would also entreat whoever happens to benefit from the package to endeavour to use the money for the purpose it is intended so as to be able to pay back as may be arranged and agreed by the authorities,” GUTA urged the public.
According to Akufo-Addo, persons who access these loans will have a one-year grace period before beginning repayment.
He said, “Government, in collaboration with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Business & Trade Associations and selected Commercial and Rural Banks, will roll out a soft loan scheme up to a total of six hundred million cedis (GHS600 million), which will have a one-year moratorium and two-year repayment period for micro, small and medium scale businesses.”
Money for COVID-19
The government has so far, taken many decisions in terms of raising adequate funds to support the country and also help fight the disease.
On Monday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the disbursement of US$1 billion to Ghana to be drawn under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF).
The money is to help Ghana address the “fiscal and balance of payments needs” and also help the country to improve confidence in its economy especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some other decisions include the announcement of a GH¢1 billion Coronavirus Alleviation Programme that will be funded from the Ghana Stabilisation Fund.
There is also a COVID-19 National Trust Fund which has so far received a lot of donations from various leaders, groups and institutions.
All of these were after the government had already indicated that the cumulative effect of the novel coronavirus pandemic will cost Ghana GH¢9.505 billion.