A framework for cooperation between the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) on the Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) programme for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises was on Tuesday signed in Accra.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to that effect, which would also facilitate the transfer of responsibilities for SCORE training activities in Ghana, was thus, signed between the two entities.
It set the goals and objectives agreed by the parties for their collaboration during the implementation of a sustainability strategy for the SCORE training in the country.
Mr Samuel Onoma Asiedu, National Project Coordinator, ILO SCORE Ghana Project, explained that the Score was an ILO global programme that sought to improve productivity and working conditions in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
He said since 2011, the SCORE training was on-going under Phase I, phase II, and phase III expected to end in 2021.
"The key component of SCORE is training intervention that combined practical classroom sessions with in-factory coaching.
"The training demonstrates best international practices in the manufacturing and services sector and helps SMEs to participate in global supply chains," Mr Aseidu said.
He said about 215 SMEs had benefitted from the SCORE training, being sponsored with funding from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of Switzerland and Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.
These SMEs, he explained, have been experiencing reduction in their production cost, improved delivery time, better working conditions for employees, waste reduction, less defects and safer working environment.
According to Mr Asiedu, close to a 1,000 businesses were expected to benefit from the SCORE training programmes, and expressed the hope that the MDPI, which was an active implementation partner (IP) since the second phase of the project, would endeavour to sustain the programme after 2021 so that the set target could be achieved.
"The MDPI would have to take up additional responsibilities of forging and managing partnerships with our development partners and IPs, extending training to many enterprises, while ensuring that the standard of SCORE training is maintained in Ghana," Mr Aseidu added.
Mr Kwaku Odame-Takyi, MDPI Director General said he was optimistic that businesses that come on board would benefit immensely from the training session, which would look at issues like the workplace cooperation, quality improvement, productivity through cleaner and leaner production and a clean environment, human resource management and safety workplace.
"These things when addressed would help businesses to increase their sales and be able to manage their cost and improve profit," he said.
Mr Odame-Takyi said the training would involve two months in-factory coaching and three-day practical classroom sessions, adding that the MDPI was committed to delivering the training to satisfaction.
Mr Kizito Ballans, Chief Director at the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, commended ILO and MDPI for the partnership to ensure that businesses of SMEs thrived in the country, while pledging the support of the Ministry to the programme.
Mrs Akofa Ahiafor, Managing Director of Jireh Micro Finance, and a SCORE beneficiary, said before she participated in the SCORE programme, she used to experience so much wastage in production but after the training that problem was resolved.