GEA must build strong SME sector- Alan Kyerematen

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Mr Alan Kyeremanten (middle), Trade and Industry Minister swearing in members of the new GEA board. With him are Mr Sylvester Tetteh (right), Board Chaired, GEA and Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei (left), Board Member, GEA.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyeremanten, has challenged the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) to develop a strong micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector to support the economic development process in ways that can make the country take advantage of opportunities emanating from its relationship with other nations.

Towards that, he said the government was also empowering the agency to lead its effort to benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Ghana-EU Interim Economic Partnership Agreement and Ghana UK Trade Partnership Agreement.

Inaugurating the newly constituted governing board of the agency in Accra, the minister said the GEA needed to deploy measures that could build up competitiveness and capacity of small businesses to play in the global or regional marketplace.

“We are all aware of the market opportunities available to the country in Africa and the world in general such as the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Ghana-EU Interim Economic Partnership Agreement and Ghana UK Trade Partnership Agreement.

“It is this agency that will lead the effort by the government to harness the benefit from these international economic programmes,” he said.

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Develop solid institution

He said the GEA board needed to work closely with management to develop a strong and solid institution that could help support the government’s industrialisation agenda.

“We are commissioning this board into office at a very critical juncture of this organisation because it has been successfully transformed from a board into an agency with bigger scope.

“We will all agree that the new brand, name and designation speaks for itself. The transformation has occurred both in terms of the requirement of legislation and also the programme portfolio of the new agency.

“And so, the new Ghana Enterprises Agency Act, 2020 (Act 1043) has been enacted and has also brought this new agency into existence to support the MSMEs sector,” he said.

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MSME policy

To ensure that the new agency becomes more impactful, the minister said the government has started implementing a national MSMEs policy to stimulate the growth of the sector to produce quality products and services capable of competing locally and internationally.

“So, with a new brand and a supporting policy framework, I am convinced that this is a new chapter for this organisation.

“As you are all aware, the government has also embarked on an aggressive programme for industrial transformation since 2017 with a strategic objective of turning Ghana into the new manufacturing hub for Africa.

“But SMEs are the backbone of the economy and so it is not possible to be pushing for an agenda on industrial transformation without involving the MSMEs sector,” he added.

The context

The GEA was recently elevated from a board into a bigger entity with a wider scope.

This made the new entity more impactful by coordinating the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector to ensure efficiency and promote the development and growth of MSMEs in the country.

This follows the passage of the Ghana Enterprises Agency Bill, 2020 into an Act on Tuesday, November 3, by a unanimous decision in Parliament.