Project To Serve As Lifeline For Smes In The Offing

Mr Julius Debrah,Minister of Local Government and Rural Delopment.Photo.Ebo Gorman (1)Government is working on a small and micro enterprise development project, which will mainly look for funding and work together with SME bankers to help create more jobs and improve the livelihood of the ordinary Ghanaian, Julius Debrah, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development has announced.

He made the announcement at a staff durbar held at Labadi Beach Hotel for Fidelity Bank executives and staff of ProCredit Savings and Loans, which the bank recently announced it has acquired.

Mr. Debrah expressed his excitement at the merger saying it was coming at a time when the ministry had been working on the project, which he said would “enhance economic growth, promote equitable distribution of income and eventually help to slow down, if not eliminate the ever increasing rural-urban migration with its accompanying problems”.

He, therefore, extended an invitation to Fidelity Bank to become the official financial partner for this project dubbed, “Operation Own Your Business”.

Speaking on the acquisition of ProCredit by Fidelity, Mr. Debrah said a marriage of this nature signified a united strategy for growth and a better service to all Ghanaians, especially small and medium scale enterprises.

He said the role of SMEs in the development of the country could not be over-emphasised, since the sector was noted to be one of the major areas of concern to many policy makers in an attempt to accelerate the rate of growth in low-income countries.

SMEs, the minister said, were the instruments through which the growth objectives of developing countries such as Ghana could be achieved, stating that “they are potential sources of employment and income in many developing countries”.

He added, “In Ghana for instance, SMEs represent a vast portion of businesses. They represent about 90 per cent of Ghanaian businesses and contribute about 70 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and over 80 per cent to employment. It will therefore be a disaster if this vital sector of our economy is ignored.”

Mr. Debrah pledged his ministry’s support to ensure the success and growth of SMEs, and also congratulated the various stakeholders and decision makers of both banks, saying, “I believe this merger is a step in the right direction.”

Besides the increased market share and synergy that enhance performance and superior value proposition, he noted that the merger would consolidate Fidelity Bank’s competitive edge in the Ghanaian financial market.

Mr. Edward Effah, Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, assured ProCredit staff that their best interest would be served, saying that “Fidelity will use global best practice principles to make the strategic merger work.”

He was hopeful that, in future, the merger will be looked at as the standard for mergers in Ghana.

Also present were the Managing Director of ProCredit Savings and Loans, Sarah Tsien Zetterli, Deputy Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Jim Baiden and other bank executives.

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