Government earmarks GH¢50m to support budding businesses

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Government earmarks GH¢50m to support budding businesses

The government has earmarked GH¢50 million to support budding businesses in a project which will be rolled out in July this year.

The initiative is designed to provide young people, women and physically challenged persons with entrepreneurial support to set up micro-enterprises to create about 230,000 jobs between now and 2020.

Additionally, the government, with support from the Venture Capital Trust Fund and the Ghana Export-Import Bank (Ghana EXIM), is planning to establish 50 micro-enterprises by the end of the year.

The Minister of Business Development, Dr Ibrahim Awal, made this known on the sidelines of the graduation of the Nobel International Business School (NIBS) in Accra last Saturday.

The minister was among the 11 students who graduated with doctorate degrees after completing their relevant courses and research.

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Under the initiative, Dr Awal said, the government intended to provide financial support for about 1,000 young businesses at eight per cent interest rate to help them get access to cheaper sources of funds.

He observed that the government would also provide financial support for 500 physically handicapped people in a bid to move them from the streets. It would provide similar support for 1,000 young women entrepreneurs,

While admitting that close to 48 per cent of young people in the country were unemployed, Dr Awal stated that the focus of the government was to create jobs in order to improve livelihoods and address the unemployment situation.

“We want young people to know that the country is presently being positioned to create jobs and that was the reason the Ministry of Business Development was established to support and nurture talents,” he said.

He said the ministry had, since its inception, trained 7,000 business owners who had expanded their operations to employ between two and three persons each.

“That is why we said we have created 20,000 jobs between last year and this year. These young businesses were exposed to markets and provided with tips that they originally lacked in their operations,” the minister said.

Improved macroeconomic indicators

Mr Awal said the government was adopting deliberate measures to ensure that there was relative improvement in some major macroeconomic indicators in the country.

Already, he said, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) had reduced the monetary policy rate by 200 basis points to 18 per cent following the investment-led recovery at the domestic and the international fronts.

Also, the year-on-year inflation rate, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), stood at 10.4 per cent in March 2018, down by 0.2 percentage point from the 10.6 per cent recorded in February 2018, he said.

Furthermore, the minister said, the treasury bill rate had consistently dropped from the beginning of the year as a result of a reduction in the government’s appetite for domestic borrowing.

Fortunately, he said, the local currency continued to hold its own against the major foreign currencies, with analysts predicting that the trend would continue for a long time.

Supporting the private sector

Dr Awal said those positive indications would serve as a pivot for the private sector to grow and create jobs for the unemployed youth.

In addition to ensuring stable power supply, which was an essential ingredient for businesses to thrive, he said, the government would also roll out policies to deliberately support entrepreneurs and the private sector in general.

Sustaining family business

Touching on his doctorate degree, he said the NIBS provided him the opportunity to undertake a thesis titled: ‘Family-owned business sustainability after the exit of the founder’.

He said his thesis proved that social capital was the most important to ensure business continuity beyond the original owners which automatically provided space for networking.

“This means that if you have a business, it is important to link your successors and managers to all the networks you have, so that in the event that you are incapable to operate as the lead person, they will have the network to move on,” he added.