Stakeholders in the Small and Medium Enterprises sector have met to discuss and explore ways to cooperate and combine their comparative expertise and resources to support the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana.
The meeting under the Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) project is part of the institutional sustainability strategy of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to align and embed the SCORE programmes of key Business Development Services organisations to create synergies and sustain delivery to SMEs.
The SCORE is an International Labour Organisation (ILO) global programme introduced into the country in 2011. It is in its third and final phase and helped Ghanaian SMEs to achieve remarkable progress in their business operations.
The roundtable is also to help in strengthening existing structures of the implementing partners to ensure the continuous implementation of the SCORE project in the country even after it has ended.
Speaking at the opening session, Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Bright Wereko Brobbey, said the meeting was to enable the partners to reach a consensus on the common areas of interest to ensure sustainability after the project had ended.
He said the SCORE programme enabled SMEs to build productive capacity, adding that the meeting would look at sustainable ways to enhance the growth of the SMEs sector for accelerated job creation and development.
The Deputy Minister said the government’s focus was on the informal sector, which the stakeholders needed to tap into for achieving the employment creating agenda.
He 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 her address, Mrs 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 said the programme also helped SMEs to participate in the global supply chain, adding that aside from the SCORE programme, ILO undertook various interventions to support the SMEs sector.
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, adding that the pooling of resources would go a long way to support the growth of the sector.
Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Gunnar Andreas Holm, urged the national partners to help scale up support for the sector.
Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, the Executive Director GEA, in a speech read on her behalf, said the MSMEs were the job creators and investing in them was a collective responsibility.
She outlined various interventions undertaken by the GEA to boost support for the SMEs, including the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) in which the government injected an amount of 750Million Ghana Cedis stimulus package to ease the impact of the pandemic on job losses and livelihoods and the partnership with the Mastercard Foundation to advance to MSMEs an additional amount of 90 Million Ghana Cedis.
Also, the 145 Million Ghana Cedis, GEA SME Grant Fund 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 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.
“While the Government is responsible for developing comprehensive, inclusive and accountable national action plans, we count on your creativity, innovation and the drive of MSMEs to keep the government’s agenda on track.,” Mrs Yankey-Ayeh added.