$100 million earmarked to support SMEs – Dr Awal

The government has earmarked US$100 million to support 5000 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in 2019, Minister of Business Development, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, has announced.

This represents an increase from the 1350 businesses, which received support ranging from GH¢10,000 and GH¢100,000 under the Presidential Business Support Programme earlier, this year.

Speaking at the second Ghana SMEs and Young Chief Executive Officers (CEO) Summit in Accra on Monday, he said the government would also implement a three-year tax break for all start-up businesses to help them grow and expand.

The event, which was organised by the Chief Executives Network on the theme “Corporate Leadership Governance and Technology: Strong Pillars for Business and Economic Growth”, brought together government officials, industry captains and seasoned business persons to share their experiences and best practices with leaders of SMEs.”

The Minister noted that his outfit, would in the coming days, present to cabinet a tax break proposal for start-ups for review.

The incentives by the government, he said, was to help strengthen the local businesses in the country and position them towards growth and competes favourably with other foreign businesses globally.

Among the other reliefs for SMEs in the country, Dr Awal said was the introduction of the procurement policy which would ensure that 30 per cent of government procurement goes to small businesses to ensure Ghanaian businesses are sustained.

“We have worked on the local content and procurement laws to help SMEs to grow and become competitive. We have stated in the procurement law that 30 per cent of all government procurement is given to SMEs. This and all the other initiatives are intended to give new businesses and SMEs the needed capital to create more employment”, he added.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Chief Executives Network, Ernest De-Graft Egyir said the active commitment and participation of institutional investors was vital in shaping the governance culture of local companies.

He suggested that the Ministry of Business Development should be repositioned as Ministry of SMEs Business to oversee and implement a 10-year SME master plan to improve SME competitiveness and growth, foster high growth potential, upgrade skills and job opportunities by addressing skill mismatch, upgrading human capital, increasing market access and exports among many others.

As a sector responsible for more than 60 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), he said the master plan was necessary to tackle the major constraints of SMEs and put forward a comprehensive strategic plan that would infuse resilience and productivity to the sector.

Mr Egyir said the SMEs sector was the largest employer of the country’s labour force and as a result requires maximum attention through specific SMEs-oriented policies.

The Group Chairman, McDan Group, Daniel Mckorley lamented weak corporate governance which was a challenge to the growth of many small businesses.

He called on the young CEOs to be disciplined, consistent and work towards growing their businesses through partnerships and joint ventures, if necessary.

By Claude Nyarko Adams and Abeduwaa Lucy Appiah

 

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