Business Advisory Service Providers Association of Ghana (BASPAG)

The USAID through the U.S Government’s Feed the Future Financing Ghanaian Agriculture Project (USAID FinGAP), has launched the Business Advisory Service Providers Association of Ghana (BASPAG) in Accra.

BASPAG is an initiative of USAID FinGAP’s Business Advisory Service (BAS) providers’ network, which links agribusinesses and other SME’s to finance and expand their business operations.

For the last four years, BAS providers (43 including 6 female-led BAS firms) have partnered with the USAID FinGAP to facilitate approximately $45m in financing from 28 financial intermediaries for for 260 agribusinesses enterprises in the maize, rice and soy value chains to increase production and enhance food security.

The financing accessed by these agribusinesses has benefited a total of 61,934 smallholder farmers (26,266 or 42.4% of whom are females) in Northern Ghana. With the support from USAID FinGAP , BAS providers have organized themselves under the umbrella of BASPAG to facilitate more financial deals across various sectors.

In an interview at the launch, a Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Mr. George Boahen Oduro, said getting access to finance and investment at a favorable interest rate, is a major challenge facing entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector.

“Fortunately, we have this association right now. They are going to meet the linkages between the banks and those who are engaged in the agri-businesses. So they are going to facilitate the business activities between the banks and the farmers. Their proposals and how to approach the banks is going to be their task.

So I’m sure with inception of the association, there is going to be an improvement. Agric is time bound, so I’m appealing to the banks to put into consideration the time factor about this agriculture business. If you don’t go according to the plan, everything becomes useless,” Mr. Oduro emphasized.

The Minister for business development, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, on his part said, 75% of all businesses in Ghana do not go beyond four years as a result of the lack of service providers.

According to the Minister, “Government has voted $100m to support the National Entrepreneurial Plan (NEP) program. The plan is to support young people with business advisory skills and then some funding as a form of loans and grants.

The money is to help them grow businesses. What we intend to do is to deepen entrepreneurship culture in the country. So the exercise is to make young people to be job creators and job owners, and not young people who will be looking upon Government for businesses.”

President of BASPAG, Mr. Solomon Bonzie Quaye, in his remarks also indicated that, BASPAG hopes to improve access to market, supporting the private sector growth through the development of a well-organized and competent body of professionals to provide services which include business plans preparation, as well as in addition to packaging and presentation of viable business opportunities to financial institutions for investment.

“BASPAG will work with MSME’s, financial institutions, the Government of Ghana, development organizations, and research institutions,” Mr. Bondzie noted.

In attendance were the Chief of Party, USAID FinGAP, Rick Dborin, Dr. Boris Baidoo, CEO of Boris B’S Group of Companies, Pearl Ackah, Acting Economic Growth Office Director, USAID/Ghana, Sam Atiemo, CEO of BASPAG, representative of NBSSI, and other CSO’s.

By:Sammy Adjei/Newsghana.com.gh

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