Beneficiaries of the government stimulus package, meant to help businesses that suffered under the COVID-19 pandemic in the Upper East Region are disappointed at the low amount of money given them.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga, some of the beneficiaries who received various packages, between 400.00 and 600.00 Ghana Cedis, under the COVID- 19 Alleviation Project and Business Support Scheme (CAP BUSS) called on the government to increase the support package to help them improve their businesses.
Madam Elizabeth Akanapaba, a 41- year-old farmer, from Navrongo, in the Kassena Nankana Municipality, who is into guinea fowl rearing and currently has 60 birds said she applied for GHC2,000 and received an amount of GHC550.00.
According to her, though the amount received was not enough, she was able to procure some birds prepared feed for them.
She commended the government for the support and said she received the money at the time that almost all her birds had died and she needed money to revive the business.
Madam Akanapaba said the stimulus package helped her to procure more birds and feed.
“This business depends so much on feeding the birds well,” she said and noted that she had more eggs ready for hatching but feared the feed may not be available by the time the eggs were hatched.
Another beneficiary, Ms Florence Kolbila, from Nangodi in the Nabdam District received a stimulus package of GHC563.00 to support her in her livestock and poultry business. She said she had applied for 2000 Ghana Cedis.
According to her, she applied for the package to enable her build a shelter, increase the number of birds and ruminants and procure some feed but the amount of money she got was not enough to help her achieve her stipulated plans.
Mr Daniel Peya, a sixty year old farmer from Gane Asonge, in the Nabdam district said he received GHC500 even though he applied for GHC1,000 to buy seed and fertilizer for his farm.
Mr Peya who has a one hectare farm, said he received the money late when the planting period of the farming season was over. He said however that he was able to buy only two bags of fertilizer instead of the four he needed.
Miss Ruth Amina, a beneficiary, and a fashion teacher and trader in dressing kits in Navrongo was however full of praise for the government intervention of subsidizing electricity bills from March this year.
She said her wares mostly patronized by students were locked up in her shop because schools were not in session due to the COVID- 19 pandemic but she had to pay Utility bills, part of which had been settled by the government.
“Had it not been for government, I would have been disconnected by now”, she said.
She said she got only GHC700.00 even though she applied for a GHC5,000 stimulus package, to expand her trade.
Meanwhile Mr Mohammed Bukari, the Regional Manager of the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), noted that though beneficiaries had commented on the amounts of money they received, the support was meant to help businesses that suffered under the pandemic.
The package is a soft loan scheme of a total of GHC600 million instituted by government and has a one-year moratorium and two-year repayment period for beneficiaries, including micro, small and medium scale businesses.
He advised beneficiaries to exercise restraint and urged them to use other interventions to supplement their financial needs.