The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) is scaling up efforts to build capacities of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to empower them to be effective to venture into the international market.
Mr Samuel Dentu, Chief Executive, who stated this, said GEPA was working to ensure that SMEs improved on business processes, increased production, and market strategies to be competitive on the international market.
Speaking at a forum organized by GEPA for banks and SMEs in Kumasi, he said their participation on the international market was the surest way to increase the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
The forum, which was on the theme “financial resource mobilization: a key factor in SME growth” aimed at facilitating closer relationships between SMEs and banks to enable them access financial support to be able to enter the international markets.
Among the banks, which participated in the forum were Access bank, Consolidated bank, Zenith bank, Stanbic bank, Afreximbank, and Ghana Exim bank.
Mr Dentu said it was important to support SMEs to increase production and take advantage of opportunities on the international market, especially those between African neighbours.
He said one of the challenges facing SMEs was high interest rates on bank loans, which was preventing many SMEs from accessing loans from the commercial banks.
Mr Dentu said the National Import Development Strategy (NIDS) which was being implemented by GEPA was to promote import substitution and increase the country’s exports to improve the economy.
The Chief Executive said the youth were being introduced into skills development and training as well as export processes and procedures to enable them export their wares.
Mr Dentu appealed to SMEs to repay loans given to them to enable them access more from the banks to enhance their business activities.
Mr. Atta Kutin Boateng, Senior Trade Finance Manager of Ashanti-Bono and Northern Commercial Suites of Stanbic bank, said SMEs had the potential of changing the economy of Ghana for the better.
He pledged the banks’ preparedness to assist them grow their businesses by offering them assistance in shipment, access to market, among others.
Mr. George Ameyaw, Regional Director of GEPA in-charge of Ashanti, Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions urged SMEs to keep proper books.
Mr Kwadwo Asante, Past Chairman of Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers, called on the government to ban the importation of foreign poultry products to safe the local poultry business.
He also advocated the insurance of the birds as well as the structures that poultry birds are kept to support farmers in times of disasters.
By Dorothy Frances Ward, GNA