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Business News of Friday, 27 September 2019


SMEs policy to play an active role in harnessing AfCFTA benefits

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay

Mr Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry has reiterated the government’s commitment to enacting a policy for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)to address challenges facing the sector.

The policy, when enacted and implemented would among other things support the SMEs sector to play an active role in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which Ghana would be hosting its secretariat.

Mr Ahomka-Lindsay said this at the Sixth Vodafone SMEs Awards, an annual event that identifies and reward the best performing SMEs in Ghana.

It also sought to showcase Ghana’s successful SMEs, encouraged SMEs in the use of improved technology and Information Communication Technology to grow businesses and encourage Research and Development.

Organised by Imagine 8 in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the event was on the theme, “Role of Ghana’s Value Chain Actors in Advancing the Continental Free Trade Agreement”.

Some of the awardees included; Sparxx Foods and beverages adjudged the rising Star Award, Jilfa Trends, had the Discovery Trends, Aid Chemist won the Best Trade Sector category, while Sariama Company limited was awarded the Best Export Excellence award.

Mr Ahomka-Lindsay noted that SMEs were the backbone of the manufacturing and commercial sectors in Ghana and played a crucial role in facilitating economic growth.

He said the sector constituted the dominant form of business organisations accounting for over 90 per cent of enterprises in the country and were responsible for net job creation and contributed significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Mr Ahomka-Lindsay stated that the government would continue to build a sound macroeconomic climate to ensure that the private sector was not crowded out.

“Government will maintain the fiscal discipline that will stimulate growth, reduce inflation and interest rate. Strategies will be developed to strengthen the management capability and operational capacity of MSEs as well as encourage banks to introduce SMEs financing policies and establish loan desks to address the financial interest of SMEs,” he added.

Dr Joyce Rosalind Aryee, the Founder of the Salt and Light Ministries urged the government to play a critical role in ensuring fair competition and ethical business practices.

She said the government must partner academia and appropriate industry players to undertake Research and Development taking into account the available resources and the advantages it offered for global competitiveness for the business sector.

“As a country, we need to discover a niche and brand the country accordingly, which will make it easier for the business sector to penetrate the global market. The country must be known for standing for certain values in business,” she said.

For the SMEs, she advised to improve the quality products by attracting the right talent and put employees in a position to succeed.

She encouraged the sector to create agility through horizontal management, harness the potential of the latest digital technology, be part of a value chain of relevant and be environmentally friendly.

Mr Kwesi Ofori, the Managing Director of Imagin8, said the award scheme discovered, recognised and supported many SMEs that were contributing meaningfully to the country’s economy.

In 2020, he announced that two new initiatives would be introduced of which, one was designed to support women in SMEs growth.

Mr Ofori said the other initiative called the SME Fund received a funding of Five million dollars to start with and urged financial institutions to support the initiatives to ensure that SMEs thrive.