President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched the Ghana Enterprises Agency (formerly NBSSI), the National Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) and Entrepreneurship Policy, and the GEA Grant Support for SMEs, under the Ghana Economic Transformation Project, which is backed by the World Bank.
Delivering the keynote address during the launch at Kempinski Hotel in Accra yesterday, President Akufo-Addo described the event as “a happy day for our nation’s micro, small and medium-scale enterprises”.
The President indicated that the National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Entrepreneurship Policy is the first of its kind in the country.
“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, to enable them contribute meaningfully towards the development of the country,” he explained.
President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that the Ghana Enterprises Agency had been prescribed by the National MSME and Entrepreneurship Policy to implement the policy.
“The Act establishing the Agency makes GEA the apex body to co-ordinate and promote the growth and development of MSMEs in the country. GEA will lead the way in creating a dynamic MSME ecosystem and entrepreneurial community to help propel Ghana’s growth,” he said.
The President said the policy direction is to reduce, if not eliminate, the duplication of efforts currently being witnessed in the MSME sector, and “ensure the judicious use of resources, implement programmes to formalize and support the informal sector, and design interventions to support MSMEs in the country.”
To this end, President Akufo-Addo indicated that the GEA SME Grant Fund had been 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.
Disbursement of this grant, amounting to GH¢145 million, he stressed, would be made to 250 to 350 SMEs to help them grow into sustainable businesses capable of competing on the regional, continental and global stages.
Support to MSMEs
President Akufo-Addo indicated that he came into office, in 2017, with the vision of transforming the structure of the economy, from one characterized by being mere producers and exporters of raw materials to a value-added, industrialised one, which will create the necessary numbers of jobs needed 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 of the workforce, and generates some seventy percent of the Gross Domestic Product,” he said.
He said that was why, at the height of the pandemic in the country, Government announced and implemented the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS).
“The goal was to limit the impact of the pandemic on job losses and livelihoods, by supporting MSMEs. Administered by the then NBSSI, now GEA, the novel seven hundred- and fifty-million-cedi (GH¢750 million) stimulus package from Government to the private sector provided relief to various business in order to help sustain them, and help keep staff on the payroll,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said the government further partnered with the Mastercard Foundation, through NBSSI, to advance to MSMEs an additional amount of 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. The said that was in line with Government’s “priority to achieve economic transformation, COVID-19 notwithstanding”.
He stated that to date, some 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. Government is working systematically to ensure that we find more solutions to support entrepreneurs and their MSMEs to fuel their growth.
“The one hundred-billion-cedi (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.