Gov’t portal to help small businesses reach off-takers

Government, through a new policy being worked on, plans to help Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) gain easy access to off-takers for their products after manufacturing, a Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkorah, has said.

Speaking at a validation workshop on the draft MSME policy in Accra on Wednesday, the Deputy-Minister said: “Many large-scale industries in Ghana bring their raw materials from outside the country while some MSMEs here produce these materials locally, but because the two groups do not have any common platform to interact or mingle, it stands to reason giving them the opportunity to do matchmaking”.

The Ministry of Trade, as a matter of policy, is coming up with a portal known as the ‘Industrial sub-contract and exchange’, which will capture all large-scale companies as well as their raw materials and equipment requirements.

“SMEs will have the opportunity to go there and identify what they need, if they think they can supply one item or another; it creates a matchmaking initiative,” the Deputy-Minister noted.

Executive Director of the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Kosi Yankey, underscored the draft policy’s importance by stressing that it will bring together all enabling ingredients including economy, GDP, tax brackets to grow the nation and move it beyond aid.

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“We need this policy, it is not just another document to be shelved; it is a document that will be implemented,” she said.

The policy objectives are also to strengthen the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and its implementing arm toward job creation in peri-urban and rural areas, as well as formalising the informal sector.

The draft policy addresses key challenges facing the MSMEs, including access to financing, deficiencies in managerial and skills-capacities, access to market opportunities, and lack of a framework for nurturing entrepreneurship in Ghana.

Among the policy prescriptions contained in the draft is the conversion and resourcing of the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) into an Enterprise Development Authority (EDA), to serve as the umbrella-body for MSME development and promotion.

Government will review existing tax legislations to include incentives such as tax-breaks and exemptions for MSMEs.

On access to finance, the policy prescribes that government re-orients and encourages financial institutions, export finance institutions and leasing companies to scale-up lending to MSMEs.

The MSME policy proposes specific policy measures in nine areas of MSME development, including MSME definition, business environment, access to finance, human resource development, modernisation-technology and innovation, market opportunities, entrepreneurship development and cross-cutting issues.

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It also identifies key sectors which require tailored support to serve as growth-poles for transformation of the MSME sector.

The key strategic sectors targetted include: agribusiness, manufacturing, information and communication technology (ICT), energy and petroleum, real estate, tourism and creative arts, textiles and garments, artisanal enterprises, services, climate change, and the green economy.

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