Among other things, stakeholders who consist of players in the private sector, policy makers and representatives from government agencies discussed ways to incorporate gender into the national MSMEs policy.
Spearheaded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), the policy is to provide the administrative, regulatory, institutional and legal framework for the growth and development of the sector.
Addressing the stakeholders at the forum in Accra yesterday, the Executive Director of the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Mrs Kosi Yankey
Ayeh, stated that the gender aspect of the policy development would be ready by the end of this month.
“This is the last stakeholder session for the gender aspect of the document’s development and so once this is done, hopefully by the end of this month, we will forward it to MoTI for approval,” she said.
According to her, the policy was to stimulate the growth of enterprises under the MSME sector to produce world-class products and services that could compete locally and internationally.Significance of the policy
She observed that the significance of the policy document was to highlight and give a clear direction on the needed support for businesses under the MSMEs space.
“Over the years we realised that we did not have a comprehensive policy and so we started developing a policy to help create a platform to support these enterprises owned by men and women, but most often when these policies are created they favour the male more than women.
She indicated that the policy was to help shape and grow these businesses from their current state to become multinational companies.
“So at this stakeholder engagement, we are working with all the right agencies to support the creation of the policy,” Mrs Kosi added.
Gender and related dimensions
A Senior Commercial Officer of MoTI, Mr Ofori Asante-Agyei, indicated that as a ministry, gender and its related dimensions were catered for in every policy it developed.
He said the ministry had begun implementing a 10-point agenda for transformation to help shift the country’s economy from commodity-based to industrialisation.
He said a critical project under the 10-point agenda was small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and how the sector’s performance could be developed.
“A critical look at the sector indicates that micro businesses consist of the largest share of SMEs in the country and within the micro businesses, businesses owned by women constitute 87 per cent and so it makes sense for the government to invest more funds to develop enterprises owned by women,” he added.
An Associate Programmes Officer of the International Trade Centre, Mrs Anahita Vasudevan, underscored the need for gender-related issues to be incorporated into national policy.
She observed that the forum was an initiative of the MoTI, with support from the NBSSI and International Trade Centre, to collect feedback from various stakeholders to improve the national MSME policy.