United Bank for Africa (UBA) Ghana Limited has initiated a programme to build up competitiveness and capacity for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country to enable them to unlock their potential into global giants.
The UBA SME Capacity Building Programme is to help develop a strong SMEs sector to support the economic development process in ways that can make the country take advantage of opportunities emanating from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
On the theme, “Overcoming SMEs Credit Accessibility Constraints in Ghana,” the programme among other things seek to educate SMEs to overcome the credit accessibility constraints in order to access UBA loan facilities.
Speaking at a workshop to mark the beginning of the Capacity Building Programme in Accra on October 16, the Deputy Managing Director of UBA Ghana, Mrs Sylvia Inkoom, stated that the programme would also educate small business on the need to keep accurate and systematic records of financial transaction for short-to-long-term strategic business growth decisions and benefits.
The maiden edition, which attracted more than 300 SMEs, provided a platform for customers to interact with the management of UBA for sustainable growth.
Mrs Inkoom observed that entrepreneurs needed to make record keeping an integral part of their business activities.
She said record keeping guides entrepreneurs to know whether they were making profits or losses.
She advised participants to add value to their operations by periodically training themselves and building their capacity for effective performance of duties.
The deputy MD stated that the SME sector was essential for several reasons including creating jobs and also providing support for the economy when a good chunk of the SMEs build up competitiveness and capacity to play in the global or regional marketplace.
She, therefore, called on SMEs in the country to embrace best practices to strengthen their operations and compete with their peers to take advantage of the recent enormous investor interest in Africa as the destination for businesses.
Corroborating the views of the deputy MD, a Representation from the Trade Union Congress, Dr Gabriel Donkoh, noted that the significant contribution of SMEs to the growth and development of national economies were globally acknowledged.
He said the sector was seen as the main driver for innovation, economic growth and job creation.
“All over the world SMEs employ a larger proportion of the labour force. In developing countries SMEs employ over half of the working population and act as a vehicle for poverty reduction,” he said.
He said in Ghana SMEs account for about 92 per cent of all private businesses and provide close to 85 per cent of employment in the manufacturing sector.
He explained that as part of Ghana's long-term vision was to become a middle-income country with appreciable living standards.
This, he said, was expected to be realised by creating an open and liberal market economy founded in competition and creativity.
He added that to achieve this requires full contribution from SMEs that employ the majority of the working population in the country.