Trade Minister Launches 2.8 million Fund to support MSMEs

Accra, Jan 29, GNA-The Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Hanna Tetteh has launched a 2.8 million dollar Business Development Services (BDS) Fund with a call on the private sector to access the facility to improve their business performance.

The fund, in its second phase, is a matching grant scheme that aims to provide the Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) with technical assistance to improve their business operations and competitiveness.

Out of the total grant amount available, 1.3 million has been earmarked for projects in the area of renewable energy under the Ghana Energy Development and Access Project.

This support for renewable energy is to stimulate and develop markets, suppliers and projects for renewable energies, targeting electricity provision for mini-grid, grid-connected and off-grid applications

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) account for over 80 percent of businesses in the country but are constrained by access to capital, markets and many other services.

Ms Tetteh urged potential applicants to submit their applications for assistance on time as the second phase would end in October this year

Francis Kusi, Coordinator of the Micro Small Medium Enterprises, said the fund would subsidies a maximum of 50 percent of the total costs of approved projects.

He said under the access to Finance component, support is given to increase the creditworthiness of prospective clients of the partner banks, thus increasing the number of new SME loans and also assist those SMEs, which received loans from partner banks to remain bankable.

It would also provide support to financial institutions that wish to develop and expand term lending to SMEs or to develop additional financial instruments suitable for SMEs.

On access to markets, he said the fund, support eligible  MSMEs to get non-financial services that could improve their productivity and competitiveness, enable BDS providers to develop and market specialized BDS that are appropriate and affordable to MSMEs;

In addition, improve market information and public-private dialogue through support to business associations and policy advocacy groups. The Fund will also facilitate linkages between MSMEs and larger firms and markets through support to clusters of firms or lead firms working with such clusters of MSME suppliers.

The BDS fund, which is currently being implemented by Triodos Facet of the Netherlands and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation is focused on MSMEs throughout the country, with emphasis on value chain, such as cosmetics, fish, fruit, plastics, salt, palm oil and other value added activities.

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