The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), last Thursday held an export financing forum in Accra at which ways of bridging the financing gap between banks and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were discussed.
The forum formed part of GEPA’s mission to deepen financial inclusion by making financial services accessible at affordable costs to individuals and businesses irrespective of size and net worth.
It was attended by representatives from the Prudential, Fidelity, Zenith and GCB Bank who took the opportunity to talk about their innovative packages and how they could be assessed to support businesses in the MSMEs bracket.
Addressing the forum, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GEPA, Ms Afua Asabea Asare, said GEPA had a clientele population of over 2000 and was thus poised to tackle challenges MSMEs were facing through its flagship programme, the Export School and also through workshops to build their business capacities.
She said the forum was aimed at bringing banks and MSMEs onto a common platform in order for them to discover a common ground to engage in business.
“Many banks have approached GEPA to facilitate channels through which they can reach out to small exporters with the view to providing them with export finance solutions,” she said.
Ms Asare said, “GEPA is not a bank or non-bank financial institution and our cash flows cannot support the monumental financial requirements of the many export-oriented MSMEs in the country, and so we find it interesting to connect them with financial institutions to resolve the challenge they face with finance”.
She said GEPA was calling on banks and asking them to extend flexible credit facilities to MSMEs to bring about the much needed industrial transformation the nation badly needed.
According to her, GEPA and other actors in the export space would provide the necessary institutional support to ensure a successful partnership between the banks and MSMEs.
The GEPA CEO said MSMEs served as major suppliers of raw material for large enterprises and provided opportunities for those who preferred to go into private enterprise and also helped to reduce rural-urban drift.
A representative of the GCB Bank, Mr Benjamin Larbi, said the bank was ready to support the private sector and any other business that needed assistance to improve productivity.
He said the bank had special interest in the agricultural sector and had devoted an amount GH¢100 million to support the export of cashew for the 2019/2020, season.
Mr Larbi said the bank was also interested in the government’s ‘One district, One factory (1D1F)’ programme and encouraged MSMEs and other enterprises to take advantage of the initiative, adding that, “there is also a stimulus package for existing businesses that are struggling to see the light of the day”.
Explaining incentive packages Prudential Bank has for MSMEs, a representative of the bank, Nana Abena Senyah, said the bank gave out loans for a period of six to 12 months depending on the level of the business and the terms of conditions.