GEA establishes financial services department to support MSMEs

The move by the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) is to position the MSMEs to become key players in the government’s industrialization programme

The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) has established the Financial Services Department to develop strategies to address challenges for access to finance for micro small medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, the executive director of GEA, said the Agency was expected to play a key role in supporting the MSMEs to become players in the value chain of the industrialisation process.

Yankey-Ayeh was speaking at the commissioning of the “GEA Access to Finance Technical” committee in Accra.

The committee is to provide inputs for the creation and implementation of the MSME Fund, identify partner institutions to drive GEA’s Access to Finance initiatives and provide inputs that will help expand GEA’s funding portfolio and global reach.

They are also to provide inputs into national policies related to MSMEs access to finance and any additional matters delegated to the committee by GEA.

The committee’s mandate, which shall be in force for one year, has representatives from Ministries of Trade and Industry and Finance, Association of Bankers, Bank of Ghana, Universal Bank and ARB Apex Bank.

Others are representatives from GHAMFI, an Angel or Impact Investment community, GWES Network, ASSI, AGI and GEA.

She said this, therefore, required strategic support to build capacities and competitiveness of the MSMEs to suppliers or partners, creating the necessary forward and backward linkages.
The executive director said the GEA Act 2000, Act 1043 which transformed the NBSSI, expanded the mandate of the institution as the apex body for the MSME sector.

“One of the objects of the agency is to facilitate the access by MSMEs to financial and non-financial resources including credit facilities and professional services, machinery, equipment, and raw material inputs from domestic and international sources,” she said.

Yankey-Ayeh said the National MSME and Entrepreneurship Policy, the blueprint for the growth and development of the MSME sector proposes some policy prescriptions to be implemented by the government to improve access to reliable and affordable funding for MSMEs.

These include re-orienting and encouraging financial institutions, export finance institutions and leasing companies to scale up special lending windows for MSMEs; Supporting MSMEs to access innovative long-term financing packages for their sustainable development and encouraging Angel financing and Venture Capital arrangements to inject capital into viable start-ups and MSMEs.

It is also to institutionalize targeted financing within the EXIM framework for export-focused MSMEs, collaborating with the private sector to set up concessionary bank loan schemes for Women and Youth entrepreneurship development and strengthening the capacities of MSMEs on the preparation of business plans, accounting and book-keeping and use of IT-based accounting packages.

She said the GEA, therefore, under the Act was expected to implement strategies to ensure the availability, accessibility and affordability of funding for start-ups and existing MSMEs particularly focusing on the “Missing Middle.”

The executive director said the Agency was able to compile a finance directory of all financial institutions in Ghana, including the various products they offer to help bring with the doorstep of MSMEs.

“Similarly, under the support of MasterCard Foundation, we have developed over 10 innovative and competitive financial products to help address the financial hurdles of MSMEs,” she added.

She said last year it was challenging for Ghana and the rest of the world because of the devastation and the economic downturn brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said the government was able to sustain many businesses if not the intervention through the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS).

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