President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched the Ghana Enterprises Agency (formerly NBSSI), the Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (MSMEs), the Entrepreneurship Policy, as well as the GEA Grant Support for SMEs under the Ghana Economic Transformation Project supported by the World Bank.
The National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Entrepreneurship Policy, is the first of its kind in Ghana. It is a policy designed to direct the growth of the sector, provide clear policy direction and opportunities for all actors within the MSME space, as well as enable them to contribute meaningfully towards the development of the country.
President Akufo-Addo who described the launch of the Ghana Enterprises Agency on Wednesday in Accra as “a happy day for our nation’s micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs)” said the Act establishing the Agency makes GEA the apex body to co-ordinate and promote the growth and development of MSMEs in the country.
The GEA will lead the way in creating a dynamic MSME ecosystem and entrepreneurial community to help propel Ghana’s growth.
President Akufo-Addo said the GEA policy direction is to reduce, if not eliminate, the duplication of efforts currently being carried out by the MSME sector, ensure the judicious use of resources, implement programmes to formalise and support the informal sector, and design interventions to support MSMEs in the country.
To that end, President Akufo-Addo said the GEA SME Grant Fund has been established to support SMEs to recover from the effects of COVID-19, and also help them resuscitate their operations under the Ghana Economic Transformation Project.
The disbursement of the grant of GH¢145 million, the President said, would be made to about 350 SMEs to help them grow into sustainable businesses and enable them to compete on the regional, continental and global stages.
President Akufo-Addo said his vision for the country’s economy when he assumed the office in January 2017 was to transform the structure of the economy — from mere producers and exporters of raw materials to a value-added, industrialised one — which will create the needed jobs for the teeming masses of Ghanaian youth.
“We cannot realise this vision fully without creating and strengthening an agency for the MSME sector to play a lead role in the transformation process. One might ask, why MSMEs? The answer is simple. It is because the sector employs more than eighty percent (80%) of the workforce, and generates some seventy percent (70%) of the Gross Domestic Product,” he said.
That is why, at the height of the pandemic in Ghana, the President said the government announced and implemented the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS).
The goal, President Akufo-Addo said, was to limit the impact of the pandemic on job losses and livelihoods, by supporting MSMEs through the then NBSSI disbursed the government’s GH¢750 million stimulus package to the private sector to help sustain them, and help keep staff on the payroll.
President Akufo-Addo said: “Government further partnered with the Mastercard Foundation, again through NBSSI, to advance to MSMEs an additional amount of ninety million cedis (GH¢90 million), as part of the NBSSI/Mastercard Foundation Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme, also referred to as the nkɔsuo programme for MSMEs, in line with Government’s priority to achieve economic transformation, COVID-19 notwithstanding.”
To date, over 300,000 businesses had benefited from these interventions.
“We know there is more work to be done, and we are doing the work. We will not rest on our oars. The government is working systematically to ensure that we find more solutions to support entrepreneurs and their MSMEs to fuel their growth.”
“The GH¢100 billion Ghana CARES ‘Obaatampa’ project is one such innovative initiative, which will revitalise and transform the economy. It, indeed, anchors bright prospects for the medium-term,” the President said.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD