Business News of 2014-06-21

Need to increase production levels of MSMEs – Abdul-Rahim

Mr Lukman Abdul-Rahim, Executive Director of NBSSI, has observed that the production levels of Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in Ghana, are generally low in terms of quality and productivity, leading to low patronage of their products on the domestic and international markets.

He pointed out that the availability of technologies and the forms of their transfer are a vital necessity for the growth of the small-scale sector.

Mr Abdul-Rahim was delivering the keynote address at a KAIZEN Forum in Sunyani.

KAIZEN is a well-developed Japanese methodology of company management and consulting, aimed at significantly improving the productivity and quality with minimum investment.

The forum was to formally introduce the NBSSI/JICA BDS Project to micro and

Small-scale entrepreneurs, MSME support institutions, Municipal and District Chief Executives in the Brong-Ahafo Region, and other stakeholders.

The project is to formulate a strategic model for quality and productivity improvement through strengthening Business Development Services (BDS) for MSEs.

The implementation of the three-year project, from 2012 to 2015, which is being piloted in the Ashanti Region, began in April 2012, as a government initiative aimed at providing technical support to MSMEs to sustainably improve productivity and quality of their products.

The project being implemented by the governments of Ghana and Japan is sustainably to develop the capacity of the Business Advisory Centres (BAC) of the NBSSI.

The forum seeks to solicit ideas of participants on how the project can be replicated nationwide, after the successful completion of the pilot phase.

Mr. Abdul-Rahim said the NBSSI recognizes the need for productivity improvement on the part of the entrepreneurs engaged in various manufacturing activities, as well as institutions providing services for entrepreneurs to achieve higher productivity and modernize their operations.

He pointed out that the individual entrepreneur is an important element in the development of the sector; however, some entrepreneurs start businesses often without any training.

“Consequently, they face some challenges that prevent them from reaching high level of productivity and profitability. We need to provide such entrepreneurs with support in the areas of management, finance and other technical services at the pre-investment, implementation and post-investment phases, if they are to succeed.”

Mr. Abdul-Rahim said, currently, 36 enterprises selected in the Ashanti Region have received KAIZEN training, aimed at assisting them to implement programmes to continuously improve on all aspects of their operations.

He said initiatives such as the JICA project, hold the key to building and sustaining a strong economy, and the NBSSI will continue to seek and foster partnerships both locally and internationally to promote the development of growth orientated and competitive MSMEs sector.

Mrs. Anna Armo Himbson, Director of Entrepreneurship Development Department of the NBSSI, said with the National Expansion Plan, 33 BACs in the Brong-Ahafo, Northern and Central Regions, will be equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills in KAIZEN concept under the first phase.

She said they will serve as trainers for phase two of the project for 19 BACs in the Greater-Accra, Eastern and Upper East Regions while 25 BACs in the Upper West, Volta and Western Region, will be catered for in the third phase.

Mrs. Himbson said at the end of the project, 231 MSEs would have been introduced to the KAIZEN Concept, to improve upon the productivity and quality of their products and services.

In addition, a pool of 77 BAC staff would have been well trained to implement the KAIZEN methodology in their respective districts.

The selection of the regions are based on the industrial activities in the region, its central location, number of growth oriented enterprises, number of enterprises engaged in agro-processing and value added with emphasis on rural based enterprises which show interest in the project.

Mr. Tamon Nagai, Sub Leader/BDS Improvement of the project said, activities during the project period will include group training to all BACs in the regions for MSE Consultation, training for 12 pilot BACs in the respective districts to accumulate good practices.

Others are KAIZEN forums and study tours to sensitize entrepreneurs because majority of them did not know or heard of KAIZEN activities, development of national expansion plan and development of manuals and dissemination of materials for a strategic model.