Members of the Wa Market Women Association are crying foul over their inability to access some of the COVID-19 funds created by government to help mitigate the impact of the global pandemic on small businesses across the country.
The women, who channeled their hopes of also accessing the fund through the Business Resource Centre (BRC) in Wa, are lamenting that since they started the process in September, 2020, none of their members was able to access the fund.
Members of the Association, including; used cloth sellers, tomato sellers, prints sellers, onion sellers, and provision shop owners who acknowledged the huge impact of the disease on their businesses said they now feel dejected, disappointed and deceived.
Narrating the issue, Hajia Anti Mairy Mahama Jigbali, the Organiser of the Wa Market Women Association in an interview with the GNA in Wa, said the BRC contacted them last year to inform them that some funds were available for small businesses to access and support their growth.
The interview was on the “Mobilizing Media to Fighting COVID-19” project being implemented by the Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) in collaboration with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).
“Therefore, we were required to put ourselves into groups to enable us access the funds to do our business”, she said noting that after forming the groups they were asked to apply for Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) so they could register their businesses.
Hajia Anti Mairy who sells prints noted that while they were still on the process, the BRC came with another information that the funds they wanted to access for them were not ready, but the COVID-19 funds were ready and the process would be facilitated to access that instead.
“So, we spent GHS10.00 on the TIN and GHS50.00 on the registration totaling GHS 60.00 and yet, we are not able to access the fund till date as we have been promised; but we have been told that people in other places are accessing the funds to do their businesses”, she lamented.
She said painfully some members of the Association were accusing the executives of conniving with the BRC to take their monies under the pretense of business registration.
“They have caused dissatisfaction among us, they have also deceived and put us to shame especially we the leaders”, she said and called on the BRC to do something about the situation to save their businesses and the executives from the insults.
Meanwhile, Mr Abu Ibrahim, the Manager of the BRC Office in Wa, explained that before they could work with anyone or group as a client, that person or group must have a business certificate.
He said many of the market women had no business certificates; hence, the idea to assist them to get them to formalize their businesses to take advantage of grant opportunities.
He said it was in the spirit of this that they took them through processes of business formalization before linking them up with funding opportunities.
“As we speak, some of our other clients have already received their grants, while some will soon be receiving theirs as well”, and urged the market women to keep calm as they worked to link them up with other opportunities.
Mr Ibrahim noted that with the coming of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, many opportunities would soon be available for them to link their clients to grow their businesses.
Hajia Memunatu Angaamwine, one of the leaders of the Wa Market Women said Mr Ibrahim’s outfit did not explain to them that they wanted to register them as their clients to do business.
She said the BRC approached them and categorically told them that they wanted to assist them to access the COVID-19 funds, which they accepted because they were all feeling the impact of the disease on their businesses.
We have been deceived and we don’t think we have that trust to engage in any business with the BRC in the future”, Hajia Memunatu said.