About 560 Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in the local sector are being supported to formalise their businesses to enable them to compete in formal markets, including the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Under an intervention called Progressive Licensing Scheme, the beneficiaries are being aided to have one of their products certified by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) at a reduced or no cost at all as well as receive training on branding and packaging.
The scheme is being implemented by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and the Mastercard Foundation under their Young Africa Works Business Formalisation Project, which is aimed at helping MSMEs get certification from regulatory organisations.
The Executive Director of the NBSSI, Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, told the Ghanaian Times in an interview that the MSMEs were selected from sectors such as agric and agro-processing, food and beverages, manufacturing (cosmetics and household chemicals) and pharmaceuticals.
She said under a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the FDA, last year, the MSMEs, including 465 women-owned businesses, were being assisted financially to have one of their products per business certified at a reduced or no cost at all.
Another aspect of the scheme, she said, was to provide similar support to the MSMES to acquire certification from regulatory organisations, including the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the Registrar General’s Department.
“The need to improve the activities or products of MSMEs has come to the front burner. Partly deriving from the presence of AfCFTA, we want to position MSMEs and their products to be able to compete with products from other African countries,” she said.
According to Mrs Kosi-Yankey, the FDA certification was needed to give the public an assurance that the products were of good quality and met approved standards, thereby attracting a wider market.
“Once this standardisation or formalisation is completed, the positive externalities are numerous. The product assumes the required credibility to be displayed. In short, the producer can now confidently display and sell to a wider market and, I am convinced that is what the industry wants,” she noted.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said NBSSI exceeded its target of supporting 500 businesses for the first year and that in the coming years, the Board would look at enhancing it and creating a more conducive registration and formalisation regime for MSMEs in the country.