The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) has injected more than GH¢1.6 billion to develop and alleviate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
The funds were injected into over 13 programmes between 2017 and 2020.
Among the services provided were business formalisation, access to finance and markets.
For the period, the agency also provided various interventions to 635,890 persons, with women constituting more than 60 per cent of those who benefited.
Assisting new businesses
Taking her turn at the 73rd Annual New Year School and Conference in Accra on January 26, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GEA, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said the government, through the GEA, was focusing on transforming and developing the MSMEs sector, as well as assisting new businesses, particularly those owned by women.
She said the government’s priority was to provide clear direction through the development of the National MSME and Entrepreneurship Policy, which aided in the passage of the Ghana Enterprises Agency Act, 2020 (Act 1043), the Act that resulted in the transformation of the former NBSSI.
“We are also doing our part by preparing businesses to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by forming partnerships with relevant institutions to provide assistance to MSMEs in branding and packaging, e-Commerce, and product certification via the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA).
“Over 13 programmes have been implemented, with a total financial commitment of GH¢1.6 billion,” she said.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh noted that the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) set up by the government to cushion small businesses from the impact of the pandemic was one of the key initiatives introduced within the period.
She said through CAPBuSS, GEA supported 302,001 businesses with loans totaling GH¢523.11 million.
She said the good news was that over 60 per cent of the beneficiaries were women and the majority in the informal sector.
“Through COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme financed by the Mastercard Foundation, some GH¢22.3 million in grants and GH¢12.2 million in loans have been disbursed to 19,306 MSMEs in the formal and informal sectors.
“Mastercard Foundation Young Africa Works, which focuses on job creation through entrepreneurship, where 24,426 businesses of young entrepreneurs, have been improved; 16,731 representing 81 per cent are females. 13,884 jobs have also been created (5,212 males, 8,672 females).
“WIDU Project: Diaspora redirects remittances into sustainable investments for start-ups and small businesses. 50 per cent matching fund.
Under the WIDU project a total grant of €34,8776 invested to 152 beneficiaries with 456 jobs created across the country.
SNV GREEN Project: The objective is to support entrepreneurs and green SMEs to increase their operations. A total of up to €25,000 per SME was awarded in the form of matching grants to eight selected SMEs last year,” she said.
She said that GEA was implementing an SME grant financed by the World Bank to support MSMEs whose operations have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh called on the youth to rely on their talents and initiatives to create the Ghanaian dream.
The Ghanaian dream, she said, was “a Ghana with sustainable jobs that the youth and the country as a whole can benefit from”.
She said the GEA had been mandated to create an enabling environment and support the youth to see to the realisation of that dream.
The agency, through its 200 offices around the country, provides, among others, business advisory services.
Source: Graphic online