Accra, Sept 30, GNA - The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will continue to work hand-in-hand with the Government of Ghana to help create a favourable environment for the private sector to develop supporting Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Mr Hirofumi Hoshi, the Chief Representative of JICA Ghana, said Japan would continue to implement development cooperation programmes in Ghana that would sustainably develop the formal and informal sectors through policy and field activities.
He said JICA, implements Official Development Assistance to developing countries; stating that "we have been a significant development partner to Ghana for over 50 years now".
Mr Hoshi made these remarks at the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI)/JICA National KAIZEN Project media briefing in Accra.
The media engagement was organized to upscale the awareness of the NBSSI/JICA KAIZEN National Project, which had been on-going since 2015.
Mr Hoshi said based on the successes of the first phase, the National KAIZEN Project, begun as second phase in 2015, to scale up the project by building capacity of Business Advisory Centres (BACs) and optimizing impact on MSMEs in the Northern, Brong Ahafo, Central and Greater Accra Regions, as well as Ashanti Region.
He said their target was 46 BAC heads and about 170 enterprises.
"KAIZEN is the working methodology of improvement of quality and productivity widely applied in Japanese enterprises for manufacturing industries.
"It is core to what propelled the Japanese automobile Toyota from a smaller company to a global competitive well known company.
"We believe our project aligns with government of Ghana's policy such as 'Capacity Development of SMEs' or 'One-District, One-Factory (1D1F)', which the Ministry of Trade and Industry has developed as a 10 point transformational agenda," he said.
Mr Robert Ahomka Lindsey, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, said Ghana needs an accelerated growth for both job and wealth creation; stating that; "we need our MSMEs, which are the economy of Ghana.
"Over 80 plus per cent of all businesses are MSMEs, therefore, if we can accelerate their growth that has huge impact not just for job creation but for wealth creation".
He said the KAIZEN Project would go a long way to help Ghana's MSMEs.
Ms Kosi Yankey, the Executive Director, NBSSI, said KAIZEN was one of the tools needed to accelerate and sustain businesses that will improve the economic fortunes of Ghana, when aligned to support for the private sector.
She said plans were far advanced by NBSSI to introduce KAIZEN in all the companies to be selected for the implementation of the government's 1D1F initiative.
She said the Board had plans to work with the Association of Ghana Industries and the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry introduce KAIZEN to their members to help them improve the quality of their products.
Mr Koji Tomita, the Deputy Chief of the Embassy of Japan to Ghana, said Ghana promises to be the leading implementer of the KAIZEN Project within the West African sub-region.
"At the close of the project, I am confident that SMEs will enjoy steady development which will also contribute to the economic development of Ghana," he said.
KAIZEN is a Japanese philosophy used to assist companies to make little changes on a regular basis which cumulatively help them increase productivity and improve the quality of their products, safety and effectiveness thus, reducing waste of all kind.
"KAI" is a Japanese word which means "change" and "ZEN" means for the "better".
The National KAIZEN Project, which is three-year project is an extension of the phase, which was piloted in Kumasi, from 2012 to 2015, of which over 36 MSMEs benefited in terms of management production and improved quality and productivity.
JICA has renewed its commitment to NBSSI by extending the programme to train 100 new businesses in Ghana.
The overarching aim of the Project is to strengthen and develop the capacity of NBSSI to provide Business Development Services (BDS) including KAIZEN mythology as one of the BDS to MSMEs in Ghana.
The intervention, which is being provided by the NBSSI with the support of JICA is to enhance opportunities for accelerated growth, job creation and poverty reduction in the country, all of which is in line with Ghana Government's agenda for MSMEs.