SME Is Ghana’s Economic Powerhouse - Bank of Africa Ghana’s MD

The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce & Industry held an SME Forum on Wednesday, 25th August,August 2021 at the La Palm Beach Hotel under the theme: “Redefining Business Success: The Case of SMEs in Ghana.

Present at the forum was Honorable Akosua Frema Osei-Opare (Chief of Staff, Office of the, Honorable Nana Dokua Asiamah Adjei (Dep. Minister of Trade & Industry), Mr. Kobby Andah, the Managing Director of Bank of Africa Ghana, the lead Sponsor of the program, and Mr. Clement Osei-Amoako, the Chairman and President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.Mr. Clement Osei-Amoako, Honorable Alan Kyerematen (Minister of Trade & Industry), Honorable Akosua Frema Osei-Opare (Chief of Staff, Office of the President)

In his speech on the topic, Positioning SMEs to be Credit Worthy, Mr. Andah called on SMEs to keep proper and accurate records to enable them prove to Banks that they are worthy to be considered for credit. 

“Most SMEs face difficulties in raising adequate and affordable credit from Banks due to their inability to meet credit prerequisites”, he said, “and they. They end –up borrowing mainly short-term and expensive funds which tend to limit their growth potential”.

He urged SMEs to capitalize on the digitalization agenda of Government and minimize cash transactions. Mr. Andah raised concerns on the structure of SMEs in Ghana where most are individually owned. Decision making is thus concentrated on one person making transparent governance and business succession weak and poor.

He further spoke on the need of Enterprises to plough back some of their profit into their business to increase their stake since Banks are more likely to support businesses whose owners have a larger interest in the business.

Mr. Andah encouraged Banks to aid SMEs upscale their enterprises into large corporate Institutions by providing advisory services and also take critical look at the interest rates charged on loans. He gave an example of how Bank of Africa has designed a product specifically for SME businesses in it’s quest to promote and grow the businesses of SME’s.
The Bank is currently granting SME loans in excess of GH¢250,000.00 up to ¢250,000 to SMEs without collaterals and financials to SME businesses. He believes such bold steps by the banks would help grow the segment which eventually will help grow the Ghanaian economy.

On the side of Government, Mr. Andah applauded it for all the good initiatives it had rolled out to support the SME sector.  He touched on the benefits of initiatives such as the establishment of the Ghana Enterprises Agency and the 67 Community Business Resources Centers.

He, however, noted that, many at times, these support, these schemes do not work as expected or are not sustainable because beneficiaries regard the funds as free money. To curb this, he advised Government to improve the criteria for the selection of beneficiaries and to put in place monitoring agencies who would follow up on the post-support conditions.

He also besought on Government to also assist banks easily verify the credit worthiness of SME businesses by establishing Credit Rating Agencies with the sole aim of smoothening out the current information asymmetry between SMEs and banks.

To end his speech, Mr. Andah challenged the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other association bodies for SMEs to organize and assign collaborators to follow up, assist and monitor the progress of their members as far as setting up the right structures is concerned. SMEs were also advised to work hard and put proper structures in place to stay ahead of competition especially because the influx of products from SMEs from our neighboring countries.