Scale up support for SMEs – Mahama urges

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Former President John Dramani Mahama has called for improved support for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa.

According to him, SMEs have limited capacity to access funds and “so let Governments offer SMEs funds and tax waivers to stimulate them to expand and employ more of our youth and People with Disabilities.”

Mr Mahama said this in his opening remarks at the African Economic Congress 2021 on the theme ‘Accelerate Africa: Building Back Better’ delivered Virtually on Monday 1st November 2021.

He said “In my country, Ghana, for instance, I recall proposing that the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) agree to an arrangement with such persons, particularly those in the private sector such that they pay them a small part of their contributions to enable them to survive during such periods of hardship.

“The COVID-19 lockdown periods demonstrated clearly that the success of a nation depends on businesses in addition to its SMEs, which employs millions and is a key driver of development.

“The quest for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is great, no doubt, but the mantra for development also demands that we improve our own SMEs.

“SMEs have limited capacity to access funds so let Governments offer SMEs funds and tax waivers to stimulate them to expand and employ more of our youth and People with Disabilities.

“Governments must also invest strategically in manufacturing to limit the heavy burden of imports on African economies. This will create more jobs.

“I am confident that Africa can rise up to challenges arising from the pandemic. As Africa builds back, priority should be placed on the quality of growth, not just the quantum of growth.”

He added “No growth is worth harping if it does not improve or reflect in the livelihoods of our people.

“Growth must be more equitable and focused on sectors that are better able to create jobs. For me, growth is not inclusive if it is not shared equitably.

“This is the reason we need to deepen democracy in Africa and empower citizens and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to advocate inclusive and shared growth.

“This is what our national discourse, and the intra-African discourse, must be about. We also need honesty and transparency from governments.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana