The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka Lindsey has launched the Nkosuo program, a partnership between the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Dubbed the Nkosuo program, with an initial commitment of GH¢90 million from the Mastercard Foundation, it will provide financial assistance, in the form of loans, via participating institutions, including banks, fintechs, mobile lenders, NGOs, and Business Development Services.
The amount and type of financial support that will be provided to eligible, qualified MSMEs, both in the formal and informal sector, will vary depending on the size of the enterprise, their need, and repayment capacity.
Launching the programme in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Lindsey said the support was critical for the growth of the MSMEs, which are the backbone of the economy.
He said the launch of the initiative was a chapter that really demonstrated the value of partnership.
“This support is critical for us to understand that if we do not support the MSME sector of our economy, we are in danger of not having an economy. This is simple but very clear, and today with the Nkosuo we are launching is yet another chapter, a chapter that really demonstrate the value of partnership”, Mr Lindsey said.
“The government has responded with the introduction of an alleviation programme for businesses, which has been hugely beneficial to the sector and the Nkosuo program will complement the government’s intervention and contribute to the collective effort to enable businesses, particularly MSMEs, to recover from the economic shock of the pandemic,” he said.
The Nkosuo program complements existing programmes targeting the sector and is different from the disbursement process of current government programmes, including the Government of Ghana Coronavirus Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprises (Ghana-CARES) Programme, which focused largely on developing sustainable MSMEs as a critical part of Ghana’s post COVID-19 recovery strategy.
“The Nkosuo program will have a one-year moratorium and a two-year repayment period and will focus 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.”
The Nkosuo program will focus on supporting MSMEs who need assistance to survive the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Businesses in growth sectors where the employment of young people, especially young women, are being significantly impacted by business operation disruptions, supply chain challenges, liquidity shortages, declining sales and profits, and business closures.
Others are businesses providing services that have the potential to meet the growing demands of communities during and after the pandemic and businesses that will focus on digitization to support MSMEs.
“The Nkosuo program will be managed by NBSSI with the assistance of participating institutions, including banks, fintechs, and business development services. Eligible Ghanaian-owned MSMEs can apply for support online or directly from any of our 185 district offices across the country. The application process is free and transparent. Through Nkosuo, the Mastercard Foundation and NBSSI will help to accelerate the recovery process for thousands of MSMEs in Ghana,” said Mrs. Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, Executive Director of the NBSSI.
Mastercard Foundation’s Program Lead of Youth Engagement, Kafui Mills Odoi commented, “Enabling access to soft credit and business advisory services to MSMEs, especially those owned and managed by women and young people, is critical to building resilience and providing a pathway to economic recovery post COVID-19. The Nkosuo program enables us to directly impact the nerve centre of Ghana’s economy – MSMEs.”