Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, has assured Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) of government’s support in various ways to tackle their full potential.
Mr Ofori-Atta said that government would establish an Industrial Development Fund to finance critical initiatives of SMEs. The Minister said this in a speech delivered on his behalf at the 2017 International SME Business Network breakfast meeting in Accra on the theme: “Facilitating Economic Growth of SMEs through Global Partnership.” The Finance Minister said the SME sector globally contributed significantly to national economies and seen as an important contributor to economic growth and prosperity.
“The sector can safely be regarded as the backbone of the economy, employing thousands of people,” in Ghana, he said. Mr Ofori-Atta said the government was realigning the focus of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre to attract financing and investments into selected strategic industries. He mentioned that government would restructure the existing state-sponsored microfinance schemes to provide credit to SMEs, and strengthen oversight responsibilities over privately-financed micro-finance institutions.
Speaking on energy, Mr Ofori-Atta said government would be “creating a dedicated quality and reliable energy supply sources to industrial enclaves and zones”. Mr Ofori-Atta reiterated government’s commitment to address the problems in the power sector to ensure the reliability of power to industries at a competitive price. He said government would also have in place a comprehensive National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan to serve as an investment support for young businesses and start-ups.
He said the flexible nature of SMEs make them adaptable to changing market conditions and better suited to withstand cyclical downturns. Mr Ofori-Atta said key actors could globalise SMEs in innovation systems guaranteeing that the government was ever ready to create an enabling and conducive atmosphere for business development.
“In the 2017 Budget, government initiated the process of building the most business-friendly and people-oriented economy in Africa, which will translate into job creation and prosperity for all,” he noted. He said the SME sector was yet to harness its full potential due to the myriad of problems it faced, which included limited access to credit, non-availability of suitable technology, low production capacity.
The breakfast meeting was put together by the Entrepreneurship Foundation of Ghana and the Ministry of Trade and Industry as part of the commemoration of United Nations’ International SME business day.