The government should create an enabling environment for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SME’s) to thrive in Africa Continental Free trade Area. These are the sentiments of the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Tsonam Cleanse Akpeloo who spoke during a day’s seminar organized by the Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFIC) and the Association of Ghana Industries in partnership with the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) held in Takoradi.
According to Akpeloo, the SMEs sector is the backbone of economic growth and the nation’s development since it is the largest employer in the country and therefore there is need for the government to pump more finances in to the sector. “Though the government is doing its bit, we feel it can do more for private businesses since the financial burden on them makes it difficult for them to flourish,” said Akpeloo.
The AGI chairman pointed fingers to high taxation, high cost of power supply, and the unavailability of ready markets for local produce as some challenges that have hit hard the local companies thereby making it difficult for SMEs to progress and withstand the test of time. Akpeloo said the challenges were negatively impacting businesses and appealed to the government to find ways of harmonizing the process so that local business would not be financially burdened.
Mr. Akpeloo also appealed to financial institutions to grant loans to SMEs at reduced interest rates in a bid to create an enabling environment for them to thrive. Throwing the ball to the SME traders, the AGI chairman explained that the African Continental Free Trade Area has given room to about 1.2 billion people of the continent to trade among themselves and therefore urged them to produce standardized products that meet the demand and requirements of the international market.
“The goal of African Union trade centres is to allow citizens of different countries in Africa to trade among themselves and that is what AfCFTA seeks to accomplish,” he said.