Japan will support SMEs development — Ambassador

BY: Philip Boateng Kessie
Mr Tsutomu Himeno
Mr Tsutomu Himeno

The Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Tsutomu Himeno, has pledged the support of his government towards enhancing the development of Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

He explained that the main objective of the Japanese government was to ensure that African countries, particularly Ghana, had a well-developed and sustainable industrial sector.

“Japan is committed to ensuring that its African allies are well empowered in order to make strides in the area of industrial development; hence, the decision to provide the necessary resources in order to achieve that goal,” he said.

Speaking at the National KAIZEN forum organised in Accra yesterday, Mr Himeno, who expressed satisfaction with the successful completion of the National Kaizen Project, disclosed that a proposition to ensure a similar project with support from the Japanese government in the country had been made.

Concept

In 2015, the National Board For Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), under the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched the KAIZEN project to provide business development service and training to small and medium-scale enterprises in the country.


This mandate, according to the Executive Director of NBSSI, Ms Kosi Yankee, had been largely successful due to the improved performance indicators realised in their overall assessment of the project.

She explained that under the expansion phase, over 278 enterprises and an average of 5,560 employees in these enterprises had been trained in KAIZEN.

Ms Yankee added that efforts to expand their training also received major boosts with the establishments of new centres in five different regions across the country.

According to her, the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Central and Northern regions were the maiden beneficiaries of the project.
She said these interventions had ultimately resulted in an increase in quality and productivity of many local and export-oriented businesses.

Challenges

She stated that although the project had received positive reviews, efforts in ensuring that it became an institutional module in the country should be the major priority of the government as it looked to improve the industrial sector in the country.

“We all have a duty to ensure that KAIZEN concept and practice is adopted and sustained to become part of the enterprise development culture of the Ghanaian industrial ecosystem.”

Government response

At the forum, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, in his address lauded the NBSSI and JICA for their initiative to help government grow the SMEs in the country.

He said the KAIZEN project was in line with government’s vision to ensure a Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.

“As you are aware, the ministry is pursing programmes under our Industrial Transformation agenda to realise the growth, productivity and employment potential of the manufacturing sector. This is in line with Ghana’s vision which sets out to achieve consistently higher level of GDP growth and job creation through increased domestic production and international trade,” he stated.

He added that in an attempt to strengthen the operations of NBSSI, plans to restructure the Business Advisory Centres (BACs) into the Business Resources Centre were well advanced.

This, when done, would provide them with the constitutional mandate and resources to administer its functions to the benefits of Ghanaian businesses.

He, however, admonished the NBSSI and JICA to work at ensuring that the remaining five regions also benefited from the project in the future.