As part of the institutional sustainability strategy of Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE), the International Labour Organisation has engaged with stakeholders to align and embed SCORE programmes of key Business Development Strategies (BDS) organisations in Ghana to create synergies and sustain its delivery to Small and Medium Enterprises.
SCORE training is an International Labour Organisation (ILO) global programme introduced into the country in 2011 to demonstrate the best international practices in manufacturing and service sector as well as help SMEs to participate in global supply chains.
It is currently in its third and final phase and has helped Ghanaian SMEs to achieve remarkable progress in their business operations.
The presentations and discussions with stakeholders covered SCORE Interventions, NBSSI (GEA) Interventions, SCORE Success Stories, Aligning Relevant Interventions of both organisations for synergies, Action Plan for collaboration and creating awareness among SMEs on the SCORE training programme to enhance resilience post COVID-19.
Speaking at the opening session, Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Bright Wereko Brobbey noted that another purpose for the meeting is to engage stakeholders to agree in areas of corporation and develop synergies towards a roadmap of implementing SCORE in SME development Agenda.
He revealed that since the introduction, the programme has completed two phases and it is currently nearing the end of its third and final phase. The first phase, according to the minister, was from May 2011 to Dec 2013 and the second from January 2014 to October 2021.
He said “The SCORE programme has brought massive improvement in the productivity and operations of the enterprises that benefitted from it. Government, through the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations together with its tripartite partners from Organised Labour and employers are desirous of sustaining the gains made thus far and further building upon them. The end-phase of the programme has therefore largely been committed to putting in place the structures, systems and processes that will inure to the sustainability of the SCORE programme.”
The deputy minister called for a strong collaboration between the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) and the Ministry of Employment and Labour relations to meet the needs of players in the SMEs sector.
In a speech read on behalf of the Executive Director of the Ghana Enterprises Agency (formerly known as National Board for Small Scale Industries NBSSI), Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, she noted that the MSME sector contributes to job creation, supports the production of various groups and services thereby contributing to national growth and development.
“It is reported that the MSMEs constitute about 80% of Ghanaian economy ad contributes about 70% to Ghana’s GDP. However, the sector is confronted with a mirage of challenges whish mainly include inadequate access to financial assistance and the stringent terms and conditions of financial institutions making It difficult for MSMEs to access credit to expand their businesses, and inadequate access information to technology.”
Touching on some of the interventions by the GEA, Madam Yankey-Ayeh said support for SMEs have been boosted through the introduction of the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) a partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.
She said: “In this programme, government injected an amount of GHC750Million stimulus package to ease the impact of the pandemic on job losses and livelihoods and an additional amount of GHC90 Million through the partnership with the Mastercard Foundation to advance to MSMEs.
Also, a GHC145 Million Ghana Cedis, GEA SME Grant Fund was established to support SMEs to recover from the effects of Covid-19, and also help them to resuscitate their operations under the Ghana Economic Transformation Project” she added.
She called for increased dialogue between Governments, Business, and Development Partners to ensure a joint understanding of the different ways in which businesses could be supported to thrive, and how resources could be directed through the appropriate channels to avoid waste.
On her part, Vanessa Phala, Country Director of ILO, said the SCORE programme combined practical training with in depth coaching to enhance the productivity of SMEs to meet international best practices.
She lauded the GEA’s contribution to the SMEs sector, saying the collaboration between the ILO and GEA would enhance knowledge sharing and improve the training of SMEs.