President Launches National MSME Policy
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, which forms part of the Ghana Economic Transformation Project, sponsored by the World Bank.
Performing the launch on Wednesday, 9th June 2021, at the Kempinski Hotel, in Accra, the President described the event as “a happy day for our nation’s micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs)”. He indicated that the National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Entrepreneurship Policy is the first of its kind in Ghana, noting that “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 to contribute meaningfully towards the development of the country”.
President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that the Ghana Enterprises Agency has 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 continued, “The policy direction is to reduce, if not eliminate, the duplication of efforts currently being witnessed in the MSME sector, 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 has 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 one hundred and forty-five million Ghana Cedis, he stressed, will be made to between 250 to 350 SMEs to help them grow into sustainable businesses, capable of competing on the regional, continental and global stages.
Support to MSMEs
In his speech, President Akufo-Addo said that he came into office in 2017 with a vision of transforming the structure of the Ghanaian economy, from one characterised by mere production and export of raw materials, to a value-added, industrialised economy which will create the large numbers of jobs that the masses of Ghanaian youth so badly need.
“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 80% of the workforce, and generates some 70% of the gross domestic product,” he said.
This is why, at the height of the pandemic in Ghana, the government announced and implemented the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS), the president noted.“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 GHC750 million stimulus package from the 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 continued: “The government further partnered with the MasterCard Foundation, again through NBSSI, to advance to MSMEs an additional amount of GHC90 million, as part of the NBSSI/MasterCard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme, also referred to as the Nkɔsuɔ Programme for MSMEs, in line with the government’s priority to achieve economic transformation, COVID-19 notwithstanding.”
To date, 300,000 businesses have benefited from these interventions, he said.“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 GHC100 billion Ghana CARES ‘Obaatanpa’ project is one such innovative initiative, which will revitalise and transform the economy. It indeed anchors bright prospects for the medium term,” President Akufo-Addo said.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, underscored the importance of the MSME Policy towards helping to position Ghanaian MSMEs and equipping them to take advantage of the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area.According to the Minister, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) could be considered as the game changer for the post COVID economic recovery and transformation of Ghana.
Stressing on the importance of the MSME sector, the minister noted that “the MSME sector’s development and expansion through entrepreneurship, especially by women and the youth, will help to diversify the economy and decentralize job creation. We are determined to bring prosperity to our people by working closely with the private sector. It is the private sector that can create the needed job opportunities for the people of our country, and I am confident that the Ghanaian private sector will take full advantage of this new institutional support offered under the new Ghana Enterprises Agency”.
Download the abridged version