The victims of the fire outbreak that occurred at the Odawna Market are to receive a loan amount of about GHS2,000 each from the government starting today, Wednesday, December 2, 2020.
The unfortunate incident which happened on Wednesday, November 18, at the Pedestrian Shopping Mall close to the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange in Accra, damaged the wares and belongings of over 3,000 traders including those who had stocked up new items in preparation for the Christmas season, and others, who had secured loans to run their businesses.
The Second Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Afia Akoto has revealed that her outfit will commence the disbursement of a total loan amount of GHS2 million to furnish one-third of the fire victims and each beneficiary is to receive a minimum of GHS2,000 without interest.
“We came to support these businessmen and women with some money to help them start again whatever they lost some weeks ago. This is a loan that is going to be interest-free. This is something that hardly happens under MASLOC.
“Every loan from MASLOC comes with an interest, but we are giving them a whole year to work without payment. Then after the year, they can start with a repayment schedule,” Madam Akoto mentioned.
This follows after the traders appealed to government for assistance, having sustained huge losses from the fire outbreak. Subsequently, the President Nana Akufo-Addo, heeding to their plea, instructed the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) to make available funds to support the affected traders.
Hajia Abibata Shanni Mahama Zakariah, the First Deputy CEO of MASLOC, commenting on the issue said her outfit is working hand in hand with NBSSI to ensure that all victims receive the support due them.
“We know the beneficiaries are about 3,000. So MASLOC is taking care of 1,000 beneficiaries. NBSSI is taking care of the rest of them. The MCE already had compiled a list of the victims, and he had categorized them according to the trade they did so that data is already available and that is what we will use in the payment of the money.”
The Secretary for the traders at the Pedestrian Shopping Mall, Bernice Klottey, whined that “I was affected badly because I had three freezers. I sold drinks. I know very well that what MASLOC is giving to me is not the money that I’ve lost, but we start everything little by little”.
Speaking on behalf of the traders, Bernice acknowledged the government’s efforts adding that the loan package is indeed a relieve which will be used judiciously.
“We believe that before the end of the year, we can do something better,” she remarked.
MASLOC is committed to growing and developing small and micro businesses through the provision of sustainable microfinance, small loans and business services to Ghanaian entrepreneurs.