Govt will deepen partnership with SMEs — Mrs Osei-Opare

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare (right), Chief of Staff, addressing the participants. Picture: ESTHER ADJEI
Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare (right), Chief of Staff, addressing the participants. Picture: ESTHER ADJEI

The Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, has said the government will deepen the partnership with the private sector to help scale up businesses in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) space.

She said such a partnership would support the growth of the economy in the post-COVID-19 era.

“Without swift action from the government and the international community to get key industrial sectors back on track, a protected downturn may have a knock-on effect on the country’s socio-economic development,” Mrs Osei-Opare said at the Chamber SME Business Forum in Accra yesterday.

The event, which was on theme: “Redefining business success: The case of SMEs in Ghana”, was aimed at influencing government policies in favour of businesses in the SMEs space.

Participants included players in the private sector, SMEs, policymakers and some government officials, and they deliberated on how to support SMEs to be global giants.

Significance

Mrs Osei-Opare described the theme for the event as appropriate and timely, considering the current socio-economic landscape and the health ecosystem in the country.

She expressed the hope that participants would come up with more sustainable recommendations that SMEs required to succeed after the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying they had the potential to rise beyond the current global happenings.

“As we gather here to rub minds on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation in general and SMEs in particular, I have no doubt that all of us here, through our individual and corporate experiences, are in a position to appreciate the vagaries that the pandemic has unleashed on the world.

“In fact, the pandemic has put the world into one of the most difficult conundrums in recent years, such that human ingenuity has been tasked to its elastic limit,” the Chief of Staff added.

SMEs contribution

In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, said a viable SME sector was important for the growth of every economy.

He said the sector was essential for job creation, including support to the agricultural and the primary commodities sub-sectors, adding: “SMEs form 90 per cent of all businesses and generate about 70 per cent of employment.”

The minister said it was for that reason that the government introduced a stimulus package to facilitate the growth of SMEs in the midst of the pandemic.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said SMEs had been hit hard by the pandemic, as a result of which the GEA, which recently converted from a board to an agency, with an enlarged scope, had a critical role to play in assisting businesses to navigate the storm.

“Digital technology is one of the key tools to unlock MSMEs development, as well as increase the dynamism of business,” Mrs Yankey-Ayeh added.

For his part, the President of the GNCCI, Mr Clement Osei-Amoako, said the chamber was well-positioned to promote public-private dialogue on critical issues pertaining to the growth of businesses.

He said with a membership of over 6,000 companies spanning various sectors of the economy, the GNCCI remained a trusted partner of choice and voice of the business community.