Small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in the country are calling on the newly elected Akufo-Addo led administration to fulfil its promise made to the sector in order to ensure growth among them.
According to Baba Yabdow, CEO of Yabco Focus Company in Navrongo, a fruit juice processing company, his business has suffered mainly from the power crisis that plagued the country in 2015, and compounded by the 59.2 percent increment on the cost of electricity in December 2015.
“The issue of taxes, high tariffs, inflation and all that have been a major challenge to some of us and have even crippled many. What we expect is a congenial and favourable atmosphere that will help small businesses to get back on track. I expect that this new government will come up with policies that will tackle these challenges so that we can run our businesses.
In line with their policy of creating more jobs, we expect that they also help the private sector thrive so that more jobs can be created,” he said.
It is estimated that SMEs constitute about 90 percent of businesses registered in the country, contributing about 40 percent to GDP.
Despite its crucial role in job creation, for instance, the sector has been through serious challenges that has resulted in the collapse of some, with others reeling under the pressure of economic challenges that have stifled their growth.
Notable among these challenges include unstable power supply which last year led to the shut down of some businesses, high cost of credit, high utility tariffs and taxes.
With the NPP administration set to begin its tenure on January 7, 2017, a host of small businesses told the B&FT their expectations of the incoming government and how they expect their challenges to be met.
Zakiya Suleman, CEO of Asali Koko Mix, a start-up, expressed concerns about the high cost of credit which has made access to capital very difficult for SMEs, hence, her call for measures to be taken by the NPP administration to address this problem
“I expect the new government to introduce policies that will reduce the interest rate so that access to capital can be easy and cheap,” she said.
Also, commenting on her expectations, Abena Abedi, Project and Technical Support Manager of Sustainable Agro—a local rice company—said she expects the new government to continue and expand some of the initiatives introduced by the Mahama-led administration.
“I expect programmes like the YES Fund, and the Graduate Enterprise Development Initiative (GEDI) which was introduced by the EXIM Bank to continue and expand to help more youths create jobs for themselves and others.
The new government must also put in measures to ensure that we do not go back to the power crisis era anymore,” she said.
Nana Akufo-Addo in the run up to the December polls promised the business community that his government will put in place certain measures to ensure that most challenges facing businesses will be a thing of the past.
In the NPP’s manifesto, it promised the business community that it will provide a reliable and cost effective mix of energy supply for businesses; pursue policies that will reduce interest rates; and implement policies that will reduce the cost of doing business.
The manifesto added that, an NPP government will launch a comprehensive national plan for entrepreneurship and innovation that will invest in supporting young businesses and start-ups; and create information portal and set up a task force to assist youth and artisans in making their products and services visible on a local, national and global scale.