SMEs to benefit from allocation of funds in 2018 budget - Awal Mohammed
Minister of Business Development, Ibrahim Mohammed Awal has hinted of government’s plan to release funds to support Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) across the country.
Speaking in an interview with GhanaWeb at the 10th Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) which kicked off in Accra on Monday, Mr. Awal said the President Akufo-Addo is bent “on promoting indigenous Ghanaian businesses” and in a bid to strengthen economic infrastructures, resources will be disbursed to that effect.
This according to the minister has been stipulated in the 2018 budget to be read by the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta on Wednesday.
“Government is very keen on promoting indigenous Ghanaian businesses. We think that the economy can only grow if local businesses are empowered financially and with business support services. In this regard, government is allocating some resources in the 2018 budget towards entrepreneurship.”
“This will include money for start-ups. Young men and women with business ideas will be given support, some of them are businesses whilst existing businesses will also be given support to expand because unemployment of the young people is our critical challenge in this country. So we need to empower our people, make sure that industries grow. When industries grow they are able to expand and employ people,” he said.
“So even though we don’t have all the resources we require, nonetheless government has made available some money that will go a long way to support business, start-ups and existing business to grow,” Mr. Awal added.
Mohammed Awal also proclaimed the Akufo-Addo government’s objective to create a hustle-free business environment where taxes and tariffs are lowered in a move to foster smooth transaction of businesses across the country.
“Alongside this, government is also creating a micro-environment for business that is why electricity now, we don’t have ‘Dumsor’, it is gone. We are going to work towards reducing electricity bills from next year, interest rates are coming down… all this indicators or measures are steps taken by government to create a smooth environment for businesses.”
Adding that, “Government is very much willing and committed to create space to make businesses grow, particularly young men and women who have ideas.”
The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta will be presenting the 2018 budget statement and economic policy of government on behalf of President Akufo-Addo, on November 15, 2017, which is expected to focus on Industrialization; Agriculture and consolidation gains made after almost a year in office.
There are strong indications that government may push ahead with some fiscal reforms that could lead to further cuts in tax rates as well as social intervention programs such as Free Senior High School, nurse training allowance would be maintained.
The President has, meanwhile, revealed plans to reduce power tariffs, details of which will be contained in the budget.
However, the minority in parliament has asked Ghanaians to brace themselves for tough times as government’s budget and economic projections for 2018 portend bleak days ahead.
According to the NDC minority, claims by President Akufo-Addo that the 2018 budget will create jobs is a mirage since evidence on the grounds run contrary to the projections by government.