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MSMEs await assent to Enterprises Agency Bill

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AGI, Mr Seth Twum-Akwaboah
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AGI, Mr Seth Twum-Akwaboah

Micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) in the country are eagerly awaiting the President to give assent to the Ghana Enterprises Agency Bill, 2020.

The bill was passed by Parliament in November 2020 and, among other things, seeks to convert the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) into a bigger entity to be known as the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA).

When that comes into fruition, it will enable the new entity to become more impactful and deliver an efficient and strong MSME sector that can support the country’s economy.

Some MSME, led by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and Association of Small Scale Industries (ASSI), see the move as a game-changer for the sector and have called on the President to urgently assent to the bill for it to become law.

They said the bill had very many provisions which when implemented would lead to the development of MSMEs in the country.

Effective implementation

In separate interviews with the Daily Graphic in Accra last Saturday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AGI, Mr Seth Twum-Akwaboah, and the President of ASSI, Mr Saed Moomen, said the document had the potential that could be developed to provide the needed engine for growth of the economy.

“The document must not be left on the shelves after receiving the Presidential assent but should be implemented immediately by all stakeholders involved,” Mr Twum-Akwaboah said.

He said when the bill was implemented effectively, its designed purpose of empowering the NBSSI to become more efficient would be met in the shortest time possible.

“There are a number of factors that contribute to the growth of small businesses and if they are not got right, there will be a struggle with their growth and contribution to the economy.

“It is essential, therefore, that in implementing the new bill, such businesses are involved in decision-making and their needs understood so that solutions can be designed,” he said.

Formalising MSMEs

The new bill seeks to elevate the NBSSI into a fully-fledged agency aimed at formalising the MSME sector to make it easier for players in that sector to access credit.

To that end, Mr Twum-Akwaboah said the proposed establishment of an MSME Fund in the bill would enable businesses under the MSMEs category to access cheaper sources of funds to enhance their operations.

“And so, the spirit behind the Bill, which is yet to become an Act, is to strengthen NBSSI to effectively contribute to the development of MSMEs in Ghana,” he said.

Mr Twum-Akwaboah observed also that the new entity needed to mobilise more resources and collaborate with the appropriate stakeholders such as the AGI, Private Enterprises Federation (PEF) and ASSI to help transform MSMEs.

“The NBSSI, development in 1985 has been the main governmental body for MSMEs and so we welcome the Ghana Enterprises Agency Bill and remain hopeful that it will help transform the sector,” he added.

Game changer

Corroborating the views of the CEO of the AGI, Mr Moomen described the document as a game-changer for MSMEs, and expressed his optimism that the President would soon assent to the bill for its implementation to start.

Unlike the legal document which established the NBSSI, he said a critical factor about the new legal framework was the proposal for a special fund that was targeted at MSMEs.

“The ASSI has more than three million members and to most of us finance is a key constraint. But it is not just about finance, it is also about helping small businesses to keep better accounts and to understand the importance of business management,” he said.

Sector’s contribution

Mr Moomen said a strong MSME sector was important for the growth of every economy, advanced or developing and Ghana, therefore, was no exception.

“It is for this reason that we are anxiously awaiting the Ghana Enterprises Agency Act for MSME to be assented to by the President in order for the sector to become the best it can,” he said.