The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) has explained that the application process for the government’s Coronaravirus Alleviation Program (CAP) is free and does not come at a fee.
According to the Board, applicants are not expected to pay any fee to anyone during the application process.
The caution comes on the back of reports that some applicants are being charged between GH¢200 and GH¢250 to access the GH¢1 billion loan announced by the government to mitigate the difficulty of business owners whose operations have been affected by the pandemic.00
“We as NBSSI are not charging anyone to register and we are not going around telling people to pay any fee to register with us. I think what people are doing is taking advantage of the situation to make money which is fraudulent. So, we are advising the public, those who are interested in applying to the support scheme, not to work with the people who come around the market acting as if they are the staff of the NBSSI or any kind of association working for the NBSSI. We are not going around asking people to pay exorbitant fees to get support or a loan and we are not promising anyone that if they pay, they are going to get a loan,” she said.
Per the information given by the NBSSI, it has launched a portal that receives applications for the utilisation of the soft loan scheme for Micro, Small and Medium Scale businesses (MSMEs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The board has also announced that it has received more than 5,000 applications from institutions seeking to benefit from the government’s stimulus packages. Also, a total of 1000 people have reached out to the board for various inquiries on how to access the facility.
The government had earlier announced a sum of GH¢600million which was being made available for businesses that have been negatively impacted, but the amount was later increased to GH¢1 billion. However, the additional GH¢400 million is said to have been committed by some participating financial institutions, offering their support in these trying times of the economy.
Out of the GH¢1.2 billion earmarked for this Programme, GH¢600 million will be disbursed as soft loans to Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), with up to a one-year moratorium and a two-year repayment period. The rate of interest on government’s GH¢600 million facility is pegged at three per cent.
Additionally, selected participating banks will provide negotiated counterpart funding to the tune of GH¢400 million, in all, summing up to GH¢1 billion for disbursement under this Business Support Scheme, with the entire scheme set to attract some 180,000 beneficiaries across the country.
With the funds under the Scheme to be managed by NBSSI and to be supervised by a loans committee, composed of one representative each of the Ministries of Finance and Trade and Industry, a representative of the NBSSI, and a representative of the participating banks, the well-known audit firm, KPMG, will act as technical advisors to the Scheme.
How can one apply for the package?
In order to ensure a smooth application process for all eligible candidates, application forms have been made available online on the website of NBSSI, which is www.nbssi.gov.gh.
It is also available via USSD code across all mobile networks, of which applicants can also call the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) Business Call Centre on 0302 477 777, or visit the nearest NBSSI Business Advisory Centre for assistance with their applications.
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