By Iddi Yire/William Fiabu, GNA
Accra, July 17, GNA - The maiden summit of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has been launched in Accra scheduled for Monday, November 20.
The summit would be on the theme: “Scaling up SMEs for Inclusive Growth: The CEO and Government as Drivers.”
It is an essential gathering of CEOs, business leaders, stakeholders, investors, service providers, regulators, government representatives and thought leaders to engage in common current issues.
It would afford participants the opportunity to discuss related topics, major trends, opportunities, government policies, legislations, new projects and challenges.
The SME Expo 2017 is a trade-show established for the interest of SMEs, allowing both exhibitors and visitors alike to forge new business opportunities.
Mr Ernest De-Graft Egyir, the CEO of Network Ghana Limited, at the press launch in Accra, said: “Ghana’s Economic Growth (Overall real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) including oil growth of 6.3 per cent) is a classic case of growth that has failed to be inclusive…”.
“How can a 6.3 per cent GDP growth fail to translate into a commensurate reduction in poverty and up scaling of SMEs?” he asked.
“It all boils down to economic expansion with insufficient job creation, due to no up scaling of the local services and or manufacturing sectors,” he added.
Mr Egyir said the Ghanaian economy was made up of very small individual enterprises, SMEs, corporate bodies and multinational companies; adding that the Government’s agenda to make the private sector the engine of growth was mainly driven by the SME sector.
He said: “SMEs are very vital to every country’s respective economies; SMEs contribute over 92 per cent of the operational business and about 70 per cent of the country’s GDP.”
Mr Jim Baiden, the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Ghana, said the contribution of SMEs to Ghana’s economic development was very significant and yet seriously understated and not really appreciated by many.
He said the sector made up 92 per cent of all registered companies in Ghana, and contributed as much as 70 per cent of Ghana’s GDP.
On the challenges facing the SME sector in Ghana, Mr Baiden mentioned the lack of working capital, lack of equity financing and inadequate legislation and policy environment as some of the bottlenecks.
He said the SME sector in this country was poised to lead the transformation of the economy from a raw material export-led into one that exports value-added, processed and finished products.
He lauded the Government for launching the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) with a seed capital of 10 million dollars to support the youth to grow their business ventures in the SME sector.
“As a Bank, we at Fidelity pledge to match every cedi that is routed through our bank with another cedi of our own in equal risk and reward sharing formula to promote SME businesses in this country,” Mr Baiden said.
“We, therefore, invite the NEIP to enter into collaboration with Fidelity Bank to immediately double the 10-million-dollar seed capital pledged by the government,” he added.
Ms Kosi Antwiwaa Yankey, the Acting Executive Director of the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), said for Ghana to be able to compete favourably with the rest of the world, there was the need for the scaling up of the SME sector.
Mr Matthew Boadu Adjei, the CEO of Oasis Capital, who officially launched the Summit, said because of the lack of capital, most SMEs appeared to be small, widely dispersed, lacked resources and had limited management capabilities.