Business News of 2014-01-20

AGI to establish SME bank

The new President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Mr James Asare-Adjei, has hinted of the association's intention to establish a bank that will take care of the needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

The bank, to be known as the AGI SME/Industrial Bank, is to help propel AGI’s development and that of SMEs and the industry as a whole in the years ahead. Mr Asare-Adjei made the disclosure at an investiture dinner at the weekend for the new leadership of AGI in Accra.

The event was used to usher in the new leadership, led by Mr Asare-Adjei, who is an industrialist, founder and CEO of Asadtek Group Limited into office. He replaced Nana Owusu Afari, who has been the President of the AGI for the past four years.

The new president will preside over activities of the association for the next two years after which he stands the chance of being re-elected into office for another two-year term.

He said the gap in the provision of finances to the industrial sector was worrying, hence his resolve to champion the establishment of a specialised bank that would solely fund the growth of that sector.

He thus called on the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Bank of Ghana to support the initiative to enable it to come to fruition. He also added that AGI would engage government in establishing modalities to operationalise the government's decision to set up the GH¢50 million SME fund.

The operationalisation of that fund, he said, would help boost financial support to SMEs and industry in general. Mr Asare-Adjei also commended the government for passing the local content bill into law, which he said would guarantee some degree of equity in the oil and gas industry to local businesses.

He, however, called for effective local participation of Ghanaian entrepreneurs in other sectors of the economy, noting that local content in mining, energy and other sectors were losing steam.

“Our economy has become over-liberalised. AGI, therefore, urges the government to re-assess the trade liberalisation policy that has led to the influx of all sorts of foreign raw materials and products into the country, displacing quality made-in-Ghana products," Mr Asare-Adjei said.

The new president, on behalf of the national council of the association, also expressed gratitude to their development partners such as the German Development Services (GIZ), Federation of German Industries (BDI), Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF), UNIDO and UNDP for their immense contribution to the growth of the association.