…as Ghana Enterprise Agency begins operations
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced that government, through the newly established Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), will be providing some GH¢145million to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) accelerate their growth.
According to him, the capital will be disbursed through the ‘GEA SME Grand Fund’ and is targetted at resuscitating 250-350 SMEs from the adverse impact COVID-19 has had on their operation, and position them on a growth path. The programme, which is under the Ghana Economic Transformation Project backed by the World Bank, also aims to ensure sustainability for these SMEs and enhance their capabilities to compete on the regional, continental and global stages.
Speaking at the official launch of the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) – formerly National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) – President Akufo-Addo said: “I assure all MSMEs that this is just the beginning; the best is yet to come and government will ensure the sector receives more support to help in its transformation process”.
He noted that an essential feature of all successful and developed economies is the existence of a dynamic MSMEs sector, and the nation is poised to create that environment and help accelerate its socio-economic development through the GEA and its partners.
Acting CEO of GEA, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, in her address at the launch said: “We are ready to do more for this nation, for the MSME sector in the next few years, as you have tasked us. Since I took up the role of Executive Director of NBSSI to now Acting CEO of GEA, I have always envisioned an institution that could implement and oversee tangible impact and support for our MSMEs.
“A lot has been done, but more must be done because from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked; and we aspire to do a whole lot more for the benefit of MSMEs and Ghanaians.” She promised that the GEA will rally its partners so that, together, they will achieve a lot more for the nation.
Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, added that the Free SHS policy will lead to the production of more graduates; and the MSME sector needs to be made robust not only to absorb the graduates, but also contribute significant revenue to support the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta said government is proud of what the NBSSI did with the disbursement of funds under the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP BuSS) programme. He is hopeful that the GEA’s contribution to the Obaatanpa CARES programme will be exceptional.
In Ghana, the MSME sector constitutes about 92 percent of all registered businesses, employs about 85 percent of the manufacturing workforce and contributes about 70 percent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This shows the important role they play to attainment of the country’s socioeconomic development. The sector holds the key to accelerating the nation’s job creation, wealth generation and improvement in quality of life agenda.
The National MSME Policy
The Ministry of Trade and Industry led development of the first National MSME and Entrepreneurship Policy, which received Cabinet’s approval in September, 2019.
The policy, a first of its kind in the history of Ghana, seeks to achieve a number of objectives and is also evidence of government’s strong commitment and clarity of vision toward industrial transformation of the economy.
It is to serve as a strategic blueprint and a justification for government to budget and commit resources for its implementation, while ensuring that development partners align their technical and financial support to government based on any of the eight thematic areas of the policy.
The policy established the necessary administrative, legal, regulatory and institutional framework that transformed the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) into the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA). It clearly defines and classifies MSMEs in Ghana based on three main criteria (permanent size of employees, annual turnover and assets).
It provides a broad framework and clarity in defining key challenges, opportunities and critical issues of the sector, carefully defined and analysed under eight thematic areas. Some of the identified gaps are: lack of coordinated support programmes; unfavourable legal setup; inadequate financial support and human resource capacity.
Again, it outlines clear guidelines and the requisite governance structure for existing businesses, prospective investors, funding agencies, service providers and financial institutions and other key stakeholders that work directly or indirectly in the promotion and development of MSMEs.
And finally, it provides government with the opportunity to establish the first-ever MSME Fund that will be accessible to all types of MSMEs and administered by the GEA.