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Business News of Thursday, 26 August 2021

Source: GNA

Chief of Staff commends SMEs for embracing technology

Madam Akosua Frema Osei Opare, the Chief of Staff Madam Akosua Frema Osei Opare, the Chief of Staff

Madam Akosua Frema Osei Opare, the Chief of Staff, has commended Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for embracing the use of technology in their business.

She said innovation and ingenuity had become a necessity for all contemporary enterprises that want to survive in a world characterized by competition, technological change and recurring crises.

Madam Osei-Opare was speaking at the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) forum dubbed: "The Chamber SME Business Forum" in Accra.

The event was held on the theme: “Redefining Business Success: The Case of SMEs in Ghana."

The purpose of the forum is to provide a high-level platform for CEOs and Entrepreneurs of SMEs, Industry Experts and Policy Makers to deliberate on topical issues and make policy recommendations, relating to the sustainable growth and development of SMEs in Ghana as well as explore new business partnerships.

“It is gladdening to note that some SMEs have embraced the idea and are now using technology in their businesses and are beginning to adopt measures and strategies to cope with the new normal,” she added.

She commended the leadership and members of the GNCCI for the relentless effort in promoting excellence in the commercial and business sectors of the Ghanaian economy.

She said without swift action from the government and the international community to get key industrial sectors back on track, a protracted downturn may be on the cards and with knock-on effects on socio-economic development.

Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, said to become competitive in this fast-changing global market, Ghanaian SMEs needed to offer high-quality products and excellent customer services.

They must be empowered to effectively engage in competitive trade and take advantage of opportunities under the AfCFTA and the various Government interventions and initiatives.

She said one way that SMEs could also strengthen their capacity was for businesses to open their doors for partnerships and mergers with either local investment or foreign investors.

This co-operation will not only result in equity injections but also offer new potential market opportunities as well as access to new technology and management know-how.

She said the Government through the Ministry would play its role to facilitate such arrangements to help the MSME sector to grow.

“Hence, the Ministry will work closely with the private sector, especially with associations such as the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to improve their competitiveness,” she added.

Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Enterprise Agency (GEA) said the emergence of the pandemic has taught the stakeholders unpleasant but valuable lessons and served as a wake-up call for businesses.

She said the pandemic had a negative influence on health, agriculture, tourism, financial services, manufacturing and other elements of society.

She said Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) had suffered a great deal as a result of the shock and these enterprises form 90 per cent of all businesses and contribute to about 70 per cent of employment.

“As a result, the GEA has a critical role to play in assisting these businesses to navigate through the storm and digital technology is one of the key tools for unlocking MSMEs development as well as increasing the dynamism of business owners and it has proven to be extremely beneficial to our MSMEs,” she said.

She said this was one of the initiatives the Agency was implementing in partnership with GIZ under the GIZ Digitalisation programme.

Mr Clement Osei-Amoako, the President of the GNCCI, said Chamber had a unique position and capacity to promote public-private dialogue on critical issues about promoting and protecting commercial and industrial interests in the country.

He said the GNCCI remained a trusted partner of choice and voice of the business community with total commitment to playing a leadership role in the promotion of healthy growth of the economy of Ghana.

He said the Chamber also remained committed to providing dedicated and well-grounded business support services to these entities and the business community in supporting Ghana’s industrialization agenda.

These include trade intelligence, business promotion, export development, trade facilitation, evidence-based advocacy, and policy dialogue, among others.

He said the selection of the topics and resource persons was critical to enabling us to re-assess strategies critical to charting the path towards building SME competitiveness via business value, resilience, and sustainability.

He said in both developed and developing economies, SMEs were considered as an engine for economic growth and they did not only contribute to the growth of national GDP but also contributed to the reduction of unemployment.

He said while acknowledging targeted policies and bailout programmes, specifically the Corona Virus Alleviation Programme - Business Support Scheme (CAP-BuSS) and Ghana CARES Obaatanpa Programme to provide relief to local businesses, SMEs still face some challenges that hinder their development.

There is enough evidence through the Chamber’s research that the high-interest rate regime in Ghana (or financial costs), taxes, and energy costs, impede business performance (growth, value, and resilience).

The Chamber SME Business Forum, therefore, provides a timely platform to find innovative ways to addressing macro and micro issues affecting SMEs in Ghana.

“The GNCCI will continue to engage government and other stakeholders with the communique to improve the business competitiveness of our SMEs as well as the overall business climate,” he added.