Reduce Interest Rates — Minister

Mr. Spio-Garbrah — Trade MinisterMr. Ekow Spio-Garbrah, the Minister of Trade and Industry, has appealed to banks and financial institutions in the country to reduce interest rates and cost of borrowing to enable businesses to thrive.

The reduction of interest rates, according to him, was one sure way to enhance the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

He said the success or otherwise of any business depended not only on availability of natural resources but also access to capital by SMEs.

Presenting a keynote address at a two-day summit on Small and Medium Enterprises in Accra, Mr. Spio-Garbrah said the prevailing interest rates if not reduced would have adverse effects on businesses.

The two-day event was organised by OML Ghana, an online business platform in collaboration with Jobberman website.

It sought to educate SMEs on innovative methods of developing businesses and types of businesses to establish in challenging economies.

The Minister said Ghana’s interest rate must conform to international standards of 5 per cent to ensure economic growth.

Expressing his frustrations at recent developments, the minister remarked: “unfortunately stakeholders and industries have left this fight to me alone. It is not a war against the Finance Minister, neither is it against the central bank but a resolve to have the rate reduced.”

Mr. Spio-Garbrah said SMEs must be given the needed support because they contribute to economic growth by creating jobs and reducing poverty.

He said although small businesses were more resilient to external and domestic shocks, access to credit and cost of borrowing remained a challenge to their survival.

He said the Ministry of Trade had a number of programmes aimed at promoting the growth of small scale industries.

He mentioned the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund, GRATIS Foundation and Rural Enterprises Programme as some initiatives being undertaken by the ministry to support local businesses.

The Managing Director of OML Ghana Anita Juafe said despite of the myriad economic challenges facing the country, the government must create an enabling environment for small scale establishments.

By Malik Sullemana   

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