Strengthening Small And Medium Enterprises Is The Way Forward

Mr. Samuel Sarpong, Ashanti Regional Minister, has underlined the need to put premium on the strengthening of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to accelerate the pace of the nation�s economic development. He said growing the SMEs and aiding them to operate more efficiently must be the way forward. He was contributing to discussions at a day�s forum held to promote the sector in Kumasi. The programme was jointly organized by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) under the theme �Sustaining enterprise productivity and product quality through Kaizen�. The �Kaizen project� is a strategic development model for SMEs, spearheaded by JICA and meant to improve product quality and productivity. It has already been piloted in 12 selected districts in the Ashanti Region � Mampong, Obuasi, Bekwai, Asante-Akim Central, Asokore-Mampong and Ejisu-Juaben Municipalities, Kumasi, Asante-Akim North and South, Ahafo-Ano North, Atwima-Nwabiagya and Bosomtwe Districts and the results hailed as a huge success. The project combines training of selected SMEs on best practices and financial support and the goal is to roll it out nationwide. Mr. Sarpong said it was important for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, to work closely with entrepreneurs and academia to make the private sector more vibrant. He said it was by so doing that the nation would be able to lift the people from poverty and transform their socio-economic situation. He said there should be no doubt that with financial and technical support for this sector of the economy, Ghana would make significant headway in its development effort. He spoke of the need to tackle challenges of inadequate production capacity, poor service and product quality, managerial incompetence and unreliable energy supply. Mr. Kwaku Adarkwa Peprah, Manager of NBSSI said, the aim was to help businesses to become competitive. He noted that through this they would expand to give employment to the people. Miss Yoshimi Suzuko, representative of JICA, said her organization would continue to stand with the private sector for optimal operation. Mr. Saeed Owusu-Brobbey, Ashanti Regional Manager of the NBSSI, said so far 36 enterprises and 170 business advisory officers had benefitted from the project and thanked JICA for the initiative. Professor Nana Nicholas Nicodemus Nsowah-Nuamah, the Rector for Kumasi Polytechnic, welcomed the project as a right step that falls in line with modern business practice.