Small businesses here will have to wait until next year to draw down on the $50 million grant fund promised by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in last month’s Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals.
Minister responsible for Small Business Development Donville Inniss yesterday announced that discussions had already begun among the relevant parties with a view to making the money available from January 1, 2017.
“I wish to inform you that preliminary discussions are being held between my ministry and strategic partners to determine how best the money mentioned by the Minister of Finance in the recent Budgetary Proposals will be forwarded to those institutions that are better placed to assist the micro, small and medium size sector within a reasonable time,” Inniss told a small and medium enterprise (SME) stakeholders forum at the Accra Beach Resort in Christ Church,
Inniss, the Minister of Commerce, Industry and International Business, told the stakeholders a decision was taken to launch the fund early next year to allow the various funding entities time to have all the required systems in place.
Meantime, the minister promised that political bribery would not be tolerated in the administration of the $50 million fund, which Sinckler had said was being established to provide a blend of grants and soft loans to the small business sector.
“I wish to reiterate though, that I would continue to demand the highest level of good governance from those tasked with managing the agencies within my ministry. We will insist that there is no slush fund mentality involving the system and there must be effective tools for measuring the success of our intervention,” Inniss emphasized, vowing that his ministry would drive the state agencies toward self-sufficiency through greater efficiency and a higher level of accountability.
Inniss gave Government’s assurance of continued assistance to the micro, small and medium size enterprise (MSME) sector in order for them to meet the challenges they faced daily.
“My ministry remains committed to partnering with all MSME stakeholders as we work together to grow the nation’s economy, spread greater wealth creation and improve the well-being of our citizenship,” the minister said.
Stating that the sector faced chronic challenges in accessing financing from private local funding institutions, Inniss called on commercial banks to be more lenient in their lending practices to MSMEs.