Founder and CEO of the Chief Executives Network Ghana Ltd, Ernest De-Graft Egyir has called for the repositioning of the Ministry of Business Development as a Ministry of SME Business, overseeing a 10-year master plan.
Mr Egyir made the call when he spoke at the 2nd Ghana SME and Young CEOs Summit held at Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City in Accra on Monday.
Describing the appointment of the Minister of Business Development as “a very significant one,” he posited that an enhanced Ministry responsible for SMEs will help the government to create an environment that will enable SMEs to thrive and flourish.
“This is because Ghana has an SME economy… a critical sector that constitutes over 80% of operational businesses, contributing over 60% to GDP and being the largest employer of the labour force, must be given all the needed attention from the policy angle,” he advocated.
In making a case for the development of a 10-year SME master plan, Ernest De-Graft Egyir said, “We believe that the 10-year SME master plan will trigger a major paradigm and structural shift towards an entrepreneurial economy.”
He believes that the master plan “will address the main constraints of SMEs and put forward a comprehensive strategic plan that will instil resilience and productivity to the sector.”
Among others, he proposed that the main objectives of the master plan will be to tackle key areas for sustainable SME development, improve SME competitiveness and growth as well as improve value addition by supporting research, inspiring innovation and increasing market access and exports.
The Summit was attended by Minister for Business Development Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal as a guest of honour and several captains of industry.
The theme for the Summit was “Corporate Leadership Governance and Technology: Strong Pillars for Business and Economic Growth.”
In his opening remarks, CEO of Deloitte Ghana, Charles Larbi-Odam encouraged participants not to see corporate governance as a bureaucratic and slow decision-making process but rather as a mechanism used by shareholders as a business management guideline to ensure efficiency, fairness, transparency and results.
Panel discussions were held on government policy and regulation, business growth, business financing and strategy as well as technology and innovation.
The government policy and regulation panel featured Business Development Minister Dr Ibrahim Awal. The minister highlighted a number of initiatives being implemented or planned by the government to boost the fortunes of SMEs.
Key among these initiatives are tax breaks for startups, loans at interest rate of about 10% per annum and improvement of the business environment.
Discussions on the business growth panel focused on corporate leadership governance as a strong pillar for business and economic growth.
Panellists emphasized the need for business leaders and chief executives to organize their business around systems and structures and not personalities. They urged young leaders and indeed all leaders to offer exemplary leadership, cultivate character, be persistent and grow steadily.
Regarding financing and strategy for SMEs, panel members bemoaned the challenge of financing for SMEs, even though they comprise 92% of companies registered at the Registrar-General’s Department.
For SMEs to attract financing, members of the panel urged leaders of SMEs to put their houses in order by pursuing excellence, hiring competent people and building sound governance frameworks.
The technology and innovation panel also had some insights for CEOs of SMEs. The panellists emphasized the reality of digitization and called on business leaders to embrace and leverage emerging technology for the growth and profitability of their businesses.
The annual Summit is organized by Chief Executives Network in partnership with Deloitte. The Ghana SME and Young CEOs Summit is an annual thought leadership gathering that converges business leaders, entrepreneurs and policy makers to share ideas, build partnership and propose solutions for the growth and advancement of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Addressing participants, Chairman of McDan Group, Dr Daniel McKorley, lamented the fact that one could not find an indigenous firm that was worth $1 billion, urging business leaders to aspire to take their enterprises to greater heights. He urged young CEOs to offer strong leadership and be consistent in their approach to business.
Representing the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Head of Research, Philip Abradu-Otoo, put forward that sound financial intermediaries, well-functioning markets and an efficient payment system infrastructure were the three main pillars needed to support growth.
He further indicated that the ongoing reforms in the banking sector – such as an increase in minimum capital requirements, the transition from compliance-based to a risk-based supervisory framework, issuance of corporate governance directives, and others – have given banks the impetus to adopt best practices.
Mr Abradu-Otoo also disclosed that new directives on voluntary winding up, acquisitions and mergers are being worked on.
Minister of Trade, Alan Kyerematen who was a guest of honour was represented by Ms Kossi Yankey who is the Executive Director of National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI).
Ms Yankey gave an indication that an SME policy document was being prepared for parliament. The policy, when finalized and approved, would go a long way to support the SME sector to grow effectively.
Business Growth Achievement Awards
At this year’s edition, Chief Executives Network Ghana Limited recognized the achievement and contributions of 17 captains of industry through the Business Growth Achievement Awards.
Recipients of the award included Chairman of McDan Group Dr Daniel McKorley, Managing Director of Cal Bank Frank Adu Jnr., CEO of Interplast Hayssam Fakhry, immediate past Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Jim Baiden and DVLA’s Chief Executive Akwasi Agyeman Busia.
The Awards were also given to Manoj Lakhiani of Blow Group of Companies, Moses Baiden of Margins Group, Philip Oti-Mensah of Omnibank, Subhi Accad of Universal Motors & Auto Parts, Raymond Kwakye Bismarck of Izwe Loans and Andrew Asamoah, Executive Chairman of A & C Development Company.
ADB’s Managing Director John Kofi Mensah, Kempinski Hotel’s General Manager Manish Namba, Special Investment’s CEO Dr Ernest Ofori Sarpong, Lexta Ghana’s CEO Martin Brobbey and Multimedia Group’s CEO Kwasi Twum were also recognized for their contribution to the growth of Ghana’s SME economy.
The Minister for Business Development Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal also received an award in recognition of his ministry’s efforts at renewing the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Ghana.
The Business Growth Achievement Award recognizes, celebrates and profiles the achievement of businesses and leaders who model excellence, illustrate leadership and vision, demonstrate a high standard of ethics and professionalism, promote investment and job creation and make a positive impact.
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