The Associations of Small Scale Industries, Ghana on the International Day for Micro and Small Businesses, joins its hundreds of thousands of members to request more practical steps from Government to grow the sector.
It is not in doubt that the micro and small businesses in Ghana outnumber the medium scale segment of SME sector. Unfortunately, the needs of the micro and small businesses are often overlooked and boxed into the larger SME terminology used all over the place. The micro and small businesses are the ones generating the jobs in 1s, 2s and 3s – the hairdresser, tailor, mechanic, floral and balloon decorator, bead maker, plumber, photographer, woodworker, electricals, electronics and small business advisors.
It is unacceptable that for several years now, the country lacks a national policy for the micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSME policy). The policy environment is key in facilitating the right business environment in terms of access to markets, affordable credit, social protection (pensions) and technology transfer. Also, creating job creation initiatives such as Nation Builders Corp (NABCO) and NEIP without effective linkages with the micro and small businesses does not ensure sustainability. A more worrying picture is Government not effectively engaging the Association of Small Scale Industries as a social partner in ongoing national dialogues towards growing the private sector and achieving the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda.
As a proactive body, we have initiated the USSD code *920*33# as a tool to assist our members market their services to the general public through mobile phones (which would be launched in the 3rd quarter of 2018).
On this platform, it also affords the 9,000 + members currently registered the means to:
receive and make payments for services rendered to the general public and among ourselves.
Drive financial inclusion and access to affordable credit through the setting up of micro-credit schemes and pensions
Like the proverbial ant, we as a body would lead the efforts towards finding innovative solutions to addressing our business challenges. We welcome willing partners, but find it unacceptable that successive Governments are not taking the micro and small scale sector serious. Government must change this narrative.
The Association of Small Scale Industries (ASSI) is the apex body for micro and small scale business associations in Ghana and member of PEF.