The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) has assured Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) of government commitment to create the right platform to bolster their growth and support the national economy.
The Ministry said government has put in place several strategies in a bid to push vigorously its agenda of getting people to accept to grow and consume locally made products.
Mr Papa Bartels, Director in charge of Logistics and Value Chain at MOTI said it was the ministry’s desire to stimulate demand and create the congenial environment for businesses to grow and also create jobs.
The Director said this at the launch of 3rd international cocoa chocolate festival and made in Ghana products on Friday.
Centuries International, a cocoa chocolate festival organisation, organised the launch on the theme: “creating health benefits awareness and value for cocoa consumption and made in Ghana products as a heritage for the next generation.”
Mr Bartels said the economic and health benefits of consuming home-grown products like cocoa, rice, banana, pepper, ginger among others were many and urged people to whet their appetite for local products.
Ghana’s cocoa sector employs over two million people, he said, and controls a large share of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
He also noted that properties in cocoa serve as powerful antioxidants, reduce ageing process, improve cardiovascular diseases and build the human immune system against a host of ailments.
Mr Bartels said President John Dramani Mahama’s repetitive pronouncements that Ghanaians grow and consume local goods typified government unwavering position to stir up local demand and help SMEs to expand.
He noted that businesses faced numerous challenges including lack of marketable business proposals as well as insufficient capital, and encouraged them to seek professional advice from the National Board for Small Scale Industries and banks for assistance.
He also urged businesses to get understanding of their environment, do some networking and deeply explore innovative ways of cutting down costs which often build up through logistics.
“There is the need for you to look at the cost build up, about 60 per cent of cost build of SMEs come from logistics, you need to find ways to reverse this,” he said.
Mr Ben Amponsah Fordjour, Chief Executive of Centuries International, noted that, cocoa chocolate and made in Ghana products were churned out without additives – which normally posed health risk.
He said the organisation was working closely with the MOTI to rally all SMEs to engage in aggressive promotion of local products.
“We have gone to the armed forces, we are serving some schools in Accra here, we will move to cover the regions and the communities,” he added.