How to apply for the COVID19 Relief Fund for SMEs
For some time, small business owners in Ghana have been in expectancy of more information on the COVID19 Relief Fund for SMEs.
In a nationwide address on Sunday, 5th April 2020, the President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced the establishment of the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP), as part of measures to effectively manage social and economic recovery in Ghana. An amount of GH¢1.2 billion is going to be earmarked towards its implementation. Out of this, an initial commitment of Six Hundred Million Cedis (GH¢600 million) will be rolled out as a soft loan scheme for SMEs in the country.
NBSSI, the main government institution in charge of implementing the programme has started providing preliminary information on how to apply for this business support scheme. This article, which we will continue to update, will provide all the relevant information you will need in order to apply for this COVID19 Relief Fund for SMEs successfully.
1. What is the government actually offering ?
Q: What is the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) Business Support Scheme?
In a nationwide address on Sunday, 5th April 2020, the President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced, “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 (GH¢600 million), which will have a one-year moratorium and two-year repayment period for micro, small and medium scale businesses.”
COVID19 Relief Fund for SMEs is part of broader measures by the government of Ghana to manage the social and economic recovery of the country, especially through SMEs who account for over 80% of the country’s workforce and are the hardest hit.
Q: What Types of Small Business Loans Are Available?
The interventions will be rolled out in the form of grants and soft loans, via participating institutions – banks, microfinance, mobile lenders, NGOs. The amount and type of financial support provided will vary depending on the size of the enterprise, their need, and repayment capacity.
The soft loans will be for a period of 3 years, one-year moratorium and two-year repayment period. At the moment, not enough information has been given on how the grant will be disbursed.
The Emergency Relief Fund comes in two forms: Anidasuo Loans and Adom ‘Special’ Loans. There will also be technical and digitization support for eligible businesses.
Q: Who is eligible?
The following business concerns are eligible:
- Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and that includes self- employed, limited liability, sole proprietorship, partnership, joint ventures.
- Must be located in Ghana
- Must be operating for at least six months from March 2020. However, exceptions will be made for businesses recently established that have innovative strategies to survive and also improve the general well being of Ghanaians in the wake of COVID-19.
- Must be a registered business – RGD/District Assembly (Micro/Informal)
- Must have a Tax Identification Number (TIN). If you don’t have one, click here to get a free TIN. Alternatively, you can use LaunchApp to get one, right from the comfort of your home/office.
- Member of an association, a trade group or registered with NBSSI. This is not a strict requirement but it makes application easier as applicant can use an association as a guarantor for the loan. You can register with NBSSI here.
- Businesses with between 1 – 99 employees
- Must have been adversely impacted by COVID showing evidence
- Must be producing goods or services that support the fight against COVID
Q: What are the target industries?
Target industries include:
- Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals
- Agri-businesses and Agro-businesses – food and beverages included
- Water and Sanitation/Personal Protective Equipment
- Tourism and Hospitality
- Textiles and Garments
- Other Services
Q: What Businesses/Institutions Are Excluded?
The following business concerns are excluded:
- Public sector businesses
- Non-profit organizations
NB: For an applicant with more than one business, only one qualifies to access the loan under CAP Business Support Scheme
Q: Are there eligibility requirements?
Yes, an applicant must qualify as an eligible business concern as described above. In addition, an applicant must meet several requirements to be eligible:
- Businesses/Enterprises must have been adversely impacted by COVID showing evidence
- Businesses/Enterprises must be producing goods or services that support the fight against COVID
3. Loan/Grant Details
Q: How Much Can an Applicant Receive?
No specific amounts has been stated by NBSSI at the moment. According to them, the amount and type of financial support provided will vary depending on the size of the enterprise, their need, and repayment capacity.
Q: Are There any Collateral or Personal Guarantee Requirements?
At the moment, there seem to be no collateral requirements for the loan applications. However, from the preliminary information released, we infer that personal guarantees will be needed. For instance, we are informed that you can use an association as a guarantor for the loan.
Q: What Are the Allowed Uses of the Loans?
You can use the loan for:
- Procurement of raw materials for immediate use
- General operational and administrative expenses – rent, salaries, utilities etc
- Any other need of the MSMEs that positively impacts the business and retain human resource.
Q: What Are the Restrictions on Use of the Loans?
The restrictions include the following:
- You cannot take loan to start a new business
- You cannot apply twice for the loan. For an applicant with more than one business, only one qualifies to access the loan under CAP Business Support Scheme
Q: What Are the Fees and Interest Rates on the COVID19 Relief Fund?
Interest rates is 3% – 5% per annum on the amount given.
Q: What Are the Repayment Considerations?
Repayment of the loan is arranged as follows:
- Moratorium: up to 1 year
- Repayment period: 2-3 years
Q: Who Will Be Given Priority?
Priority will be given to:
- All MSMEs in the formal and informal sectors, affected by the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- MSMEs in growth sectors who require additional capital to expand their business to meet the growing demand for COVID 19 pandemic-related goods and services can also apply.
- Women-owned businesses
- Business owned by Persons With Disability (PWDs)
- Target sectors stated above
Q: Who Can Lend/Disburse Loan?
Participating institutions in charge of lending/disbursing loans will be nominated by NBSSI. These will include banks, microfinance, mobile lenders, NGOs etc. This means when your application is approved, your funds will only be disbursed via bank account, financial institutions selected, or mobile money transfer. You do not need to go to any NBSSI centres or offices for physical cash.
Q: How Can I Apply?
The application process is as follows:
Step One: Register via any of the following means:
- USSD Code (which is *718*555#): You will be asked Your TIN, Any National ID number, Annual Sales & Loan Amount.
- Visiting web portal at https://nbssighcap.com/#/register
- Calling 0302747777 for assistance
Step 2: A Unique Reference Code will be sent to you via text (SMS) and email after registration.
Step 3: Wait for a second notification via text (SMS) and email to continue with the application.
Step 4: Use the Unique Reference Code received in Step 2 to continue with the loan application at https://nbssighcap.com/#/application
Q: When can I apply & when is the deadline?
Eligible businesses can start applying as soon as the application portal opens. Disbursement of funds starts in May 2020. Disbursement of funds will depend on the availability of funds. Note however that disbursement to eligible applicants is based on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis.
Processing of loan takes 2 weeks and all funds will be disbursed within 3 months.
Q: What supporting documents do I need to apply for this COVID19 Relief Fund?
You need the following documents and information:
- Business Registration Certificate from Registrar’s General Department (RGD).
- NBSSI Certificate [a plus, but not compulsory]
- TIN Certificate from Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA)
- Any valid ID Card
- Passport Picture – Electronic/Hard Copy
- Annual Sales Information. If you use Built, then you can just get this from your reports. If you do not use Built, it is not too late to create your Built account and start managing your business finances on the go
Q: Who do I contact for more information on this COVID19 Relief Fund?
Applicants seeking further clarification on this Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) Business Support Scheme can call the CAP Business Support Scheme Call Centre on number: 0302747777 or email [email protected]. You can also get in touch with any of the participating financial institutions, your association or even any of the NBSSI DIstrict Business Advisory Centres
Hope this information helps. If you need support on getting this COVID19 Relief Fund for SMEs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.