Mr Mohammed Murtala, Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, has asked industries to take advantage of European Union (US) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to boost the economy of the country.
He said, Ghana had the means and potential to export more commodities importing and services to Europe to improve terms of trade.
The Minister made these known when he delivered a keynote address on the third edition of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) Awards night, in Accra on Wednesday.
The awards night was organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with the private sector event management group, to create awareness, success and challenges in the SME sector.
He said irrespective of any doubts and challenges, the public may have about the ratification of the EPA agreement by Parliament, the best judgement indicated that Ghana stood to gain much with the needed focus.
He said Ghana in the year 2011, exported more goods and services to Europe which was an indication that given the opportunity, the country could excel in its export trade with the EU.
Mr Murtala said, the SMEs remained the main engine of growth for economic and social transformation.
The minister said, last year, Ghana had a trade deficit of 4 billion dollars of goods and services, which were quite available locally.
He said the government was putting measures in place to ensure that policies and programme were targeted towards ensuring that the SMEs became more efficient and effective in their respective areas.
Mr Murtala said in the age where every graduate wanted non-existent white collar jobs, especially from government, the SMEs sector seemed the best avenue to absorb the growing unemployment canker.
He said government had measures in place to create the necessary environment for the SMEs to thrive, in order to accommodate other economic and social impacts.
“The state has no capacity to employ but needed to give the support to the private sector to excel like what those countries best known as the Asian Tigers did,” he said.
Mr Murtala said that the challenge had been quite outstanding and government had now decided to take the bull by the horn to take a long term measure to address the situation.
He said the 200mw deficit in the system which was creating a big energy challenge needed to be addressed in order to bring sanity to the energy sector.
Mr Murtala asked the SMEs to put their houses in order to meet international best practices so that their products could compete in the global market.
He said government in its own way would do everything it could to revamp and give meaning to the SMEs sector as the engine of growth of the economy.
Learning Organisation was adjudged as the best performing SME in the individual category of the award ceremony.
By Lawrence Markwei