A project geared at building the capacities of Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) to improve their efficiency and productivity has been launched in Accra.
The three-year project dubbed the National Kaizen Project (NKP), which and expected to end in 2018 was launched on Tuesday, is an initiative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI).
It is also aimed at strengthening the capacity of NBSSI on its Business Development Service (BDS) provision and facilitation through the application of enterprise diagnosis, basic and advanced Kaizen methods to improve the quality and productivity of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Ghana.
Speaking at the launch of the project, the Head of the JICA in Ghana, Koji Makino, said Kaizen, which means “change for the better,” is a Japanese concept, technique and philosophy for quality and productivity in business.
He said the concept was developed by Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota, which had been the success of the company, saying the concept had been adopted worldwide.
Mr Makino said the NKP had two components, meant to provide capacity development for SMEs and also teach them the Kaizen concept.
The Executive Director of NBSSI, Lukman Abdul-Rahim said that the National Kaizen Project is targeted at growth-oriented MSMEs engaged in agro processing, value addition and other manufacturing activities with emphasis on rural-based enterprises.
He said the project followed the successful implementation of the pilot stage, which was done in the Ashanti Region, adding that, the first phase benefited about 36 SMES and 20 heads of Business Advisory Centres.
Mr Abdul-Rahim said the NKP, which would be executed in phases across the 10 regions would benefit about 100 MSMEs and 33 heads of Business Advisory Centres.
Minister for Trade and Industry, Dr. Spio Garbrah, in a speech read on his behalf, said the development of MSMEs was crucial to the attainment of the country’s socio-economic development.
He said MSMEs “are good instruments through which we can reduce poverty and thereby bring about improved standards of living, particularly in the rural areas.”
He said that government had introduced schemes including the establishment of the Youth Enterprise Fund and EDAIF to provide the needed financial resources for the development and promotion of the MSME sector.
He said the initiative would be beneficial to the country and added “if we encourage our MSMEs to produce quality products that are competitive in the domestic and international markets, we will be able to increase our exports to generate the needed foreign exchange for the country.”
The Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Kaoru Yoshimura, in his remark, pledged his country’s commitment to support the development agenda of Ghana.
By Kingsley Asare