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Business News of Friday, 9 May 2008

Source: GNA

MSME express doubts of benefiting from MSME project

Koforidua, May 09, GNA - Representatives of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the Eastern Region have expressed doubts over benefiting from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Project being launched by the government.

This came to light at the Eastern Regional launching of the MSME Project, which is expected to provide essential financial and technical support to enhance MSME development in the country in Koforidua on Thursday.

The project, which is to provide a comprehensive range of integrated interventions designed to benefit firms, business associations, financial institutions and business service providers was initiated by the government and was being financed by the World Bank and the government.

Speaking at an open forum, Nana Akrasi, Secretary to the Koforidua Market Traders Association said a little over a year now, the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development (PSD) and the Presidential Special Initiative (PSI) launched the Micro Assistance and Small Loan Scheme (MASLOC) for the same purpose but up till now, members of his association had not benefited from the scheme.

He said, his members had complied with all the requirements of the scheme yet anytime they went to the offices of MASLOC they were told different stories and urged the representatives of the Minister of Trade to inform the Minister that Traders in Koforidua were not benefiting from the scheme and all other similar schemes established to support the private sector.

Mrs. Gladys Ansah, Chairman of the New Juaben Municipal branch of the Tailors and Dressmakers Association of Ghana said out of the 85 tailors and dressmakers who graduated in the Municipality last year, only five had been able to get a place to work.

She said the rest could not either get places in the Municipality to set up their business or the financial resources to start and efforts to get support under the MASLOG or the Social Investment Fund (SIF) all established by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, PSD and PSI had failed.

Pushed to the wall, Mr. David Oppong, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist on the MSME Project explained that the project is different from MASLOG, SIF and the Venture Capital projects though all were initiated by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, PSD and the PSI. He explained that, the trust of the MSME project was to help solve all the major challenges facing the micro, small and medium scale enterprises in the country to help them grow, be internationally competitive and efficient to be able to provide employment for the youth.

Odefour Boadi Asiedu, Koforidua Adahene and Presiding Member of the New Juaben Municipal Assembly, who chaired the launching, called on the drafters of the MSME Project to decentralize the project. He said the project seemed to be over concentrated in Tema and there was the need for the project to be decentralized to the regions to enable the regions to benefit.